Thursday, April 16, 2009

Hometown Tour

It's time again for Postcard Friendship Friday. And in the name of friendship, I am inviting all my bloggy friends to take a tour of my hometown via postcard images.

Birmingham, was established in 1871, but Arlington antebellum home was built in the 1840s by one of the future founders of the city. It is located in Old Elyton, the first county seat of the area. The city of Birmingham quickly grew and encompassed the home. Today it is located in the middle of a long established neighborhood. Every Christmas the home is decorated according to the style in it's hay day. Tea and cookies are served by costumed women and attendees are invited to tour the home.

Birmingham's Byzantine inspired Beaux-Arts Terminal Station was the terminus for eight railway lines that came from and went to all sections of the United States. The station was built in 1909 and torn down in 1969 much to the continuing chagrin of historical preservationists. I vaguely remember going there. I mostly remember that it was huge and cavernous. In my mind's eye I see dust motes floating down from a high ceiling. I also remember going out onto the platform and seeing many different sets of tracks. I don't remember why we were there or when though. Too bad it's gone. The people who really remember say it was beautiful.

By the way, the city is nicknamed The Magic City because of the phenomenal pace of growth in its early years.

If you look you can find a post or two with a couple of pictures taken in front of this municipal building last year when I had jury duty.

The city is known for its steel industry. This next postcard is of T.C.I, Tennessee Coal and Iron Co. which later became U.S. Steel. This particular plant was close to my childhood home. In the years before the Clean Air Act it was not unusual for us to have to sweep coal dust from our front porch every morning. Many of my friend's fathers worked here. My own father retired from a cast iron company.

My family belonged to this church from the time I turned six until I was in high school. Later my two oldest sons would attend private school here for three years. We lived close by and they walked or skated to school. My middle son still tells the story of getting in trouble for skating through the church over to the school side one morning....only it wasn't him that did it. It was his older brother.

For many years I was plagued by a recurring dream about the steps in front of the church. I always dreamed that I had tripped and fallen and couldn't get up (before the commercial "I've fallen and can't get up" days). Everyone on the way into church was always frozen in place and starring at me sprawled on the steps.

This is the high school I attended, as well as where my mother and father went. It was built in 1908 and closed in 2006. It was a three story building with a courtyard in the center. I spent some happy days inside its halls. I meet my ex husband there and received my high school diploma in the gym.

I've written about this Chinese restaurant on the blog before as well. My family went here many times. My ex husband proposed to me here. We took our oldest children here before Joy Young's closed its downtown location in the 70s.

The Alabama theater is known as the Showplace of the South. My daddy worked here as an usher when he was a teenager. They wore white uniforms and gloves. It fell into disrepair and almost went the way of the Terminal Station, but forward thinking citizens banded together and began restoring the theater in the 80s. Today it is the venue for many theatrical performances and concerts. Old movies are shown here on a regular basis as well.

Birmingham is the home to many beautiful churches. St. Paul's Catholic Church is located downtown. I love the twin spires. About 10 years ago a modern building went up a block away. The new structure sports twin spires as well which can clearly be seen from the expressway. Whenever I drive by I always strain my eyes to catch sight of those four spires, the two modern and the two old ones.

And lastly, no tour of my hometown would be complete without this sight....Vulcan, the world's largest cast iron statue. He stands atop Red Mountain and towers over the city from his perch above us all. In fact, hometown author Anne George made him famous by referring to him in her Southern Sisters mystery novels as the "moon over Homewood" since his naked backside faces the city of the same name. You might like to give her "Murder on a Bad Hair Day" or "Murder Boogies with Elvis" or "Murder Runs in the Family" a read sometime. Just don't believe everything she says about our hometown.

Thanks for taking my vintage postcard hometown tour!

35 comments:

  1. That's such a cool idea! Awesome postcards.

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  2. I really enjoyed the tour of The Magical City via your Vintage Poscards... terrific images! I love looking at "State" cards... Thanks for sharing the historial information as well...
    ~Blessings~
    Pearl

    April ~ Autism Awareness Month ~

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  3. It's so lovely to see the story of your life in postcards, and so interesting. Thank you for the tour.

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  4. Loved your post and the postcards of your hometown. Great idea this personal guiding tour.

    I wondered if the cinemas (or theatres) on the 10th card still existing?

    Thanks for sharing.

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  5. Bob, the Alabama has been restored and many events and movies are shown there. The Lyric is being restored. The city is the home to a film festival, The Sidewalk Moving Picture Festival. I think they use the Lyric as one of their venues.

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  6. Thank you for the lesson on your home town!! Lovely postcards!

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  7. This is such a neat way to get to see a city as it was ...

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  8. I'll need to put my feet up now, and have a cup of tea after this wonderful tour of your hometown via postcards. I enjoyed my visit to Birmingham!

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  9. Thanks for sharing your postcards for the tour, Steviewren. I love visiting the US towns. I haven't been in the States since 1990 (a little cross-border shopping) and I do have many fond memories - particularly of the friendly people of the South.
    Good thing he's Vulcan so he can't feel embarrassed about his naked backside (my husband would be so proud - Star Trek humour!)

    Kat

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  10. Thanks for the tour! I enjoyed my visit to Birmingham! Great idea!

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  11. Thanks for sharing the vintage post cards with us. One of the things I like about blogging is getting to see different parts of the country. On another note, I may try that detergent , there are a few recipes out there on different blogs. Also go for the blue door!
    denise

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  12. I'm jumping for joy! My heart is pounding faster! Home! Well.. I was born in Mobile but I've been to Birmingham a zillion times! A cousin of mine who lives there just had a baby and I am dying to go visit:)

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  13. Marie Reed, please let me know if you make it here. I would love to meet you for lunch!

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  14. You write the best stories for these postcards!

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  15. Well all I can say is you all need to pack your bags and come on down here to Birmingham and see it for yourself!! This is my hometown and I blog on Birmingham Alabama Daily Photo. My dear friend Marie Reed up there left me a comment about this great post today!! Merci mon amie!!!

    For Bob, I have done several posts on the Alabama Theatre shown and recently toured the Lyric and have several posts regarding it as well. Sadly it is in terrible shape and there is little funding for renovation but it is being lovingly looked after by Cecil Whitmire and volunteers from the Alabama.
    V

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  16. Pardon! I don't want to be a blog hog, but I just checked out your side bar. Anyone that loves pimento cheese, hates those @#$% squirrels and read Cherry Ames Nurse books is a kindred spirit. If you love Paris/France too, then we are twins separated at birth!
    V

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  17. I have never been to your city so thank you for this unique tour.
    Joyce

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  18. I've never been to Alabama, but I was almost born there because my father was in the
    Army there.

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  19. Oh, what fun! I've been there! My husband was raised there and his parents still live in Mountain Brook. I'll be there next month - maybe we can grab a coffee or something - I'd love to meet you in person!

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  20. This was fun! Now I want to come down and have you take me on the tour for real! Ah...maybe someday...and I'll bring Willow with me! :)

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  21. Fun fun fun! Ya'll all (double all) come on down!

    Diahn, I'd love to meet you for lunch anytime.

    Virginia, nice to meet a fellow Birminghamian. And yes, I loved my one and only visit to the City of Lights.

    I see a lot of first timers today. Thank you so much for visiting my blog.

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  22. I thoroughly enjoyed my tour of your hometown. Thank you for clearing up that little question about the meaning of "The Magic City," which has to be one of the most endearing town slogans I've seen! I have to say that seeing the postcard of your high school and then realizing that it was also that for your folks is a poignant example of having roots.

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  23. That was great a tour, albeit only in postcards. It must have been great reminiscing on your part :)
    Thanks for sharing.


    Postcards Crossing

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  24. Hello,
    when I see your post, it makes me think about a French song titled "Cartes Postales d'Alabama".
    In translation : "Postcards from Alabama".
    Happy PFF.

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  25. Great post Stevie.....you know I love the vintage postcards too!
    You should put the "greetings" on your sidebar!

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  26. This was a great idea. I am so close to Birmingham and still haven't been there. I must someday. I loved seeing pictures of your school and church. We have a huge Catholic church like the red one here in Augusta. I must send you a pic of it and compare. Have a great weekend.

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  27. I loved your tour! What great postcards! I have not spent any real time in B'ham, but it looks like a great place. I would love to see the Vulcan up close though:) I've only seen him in pics and from the interstate.

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  28. Trish, come on over! You are only 2 hours away from me!

    Lora, you too! Bring the children to Vulcan for a field trip. There is a little museum that shows the beginnings of the iron and steel industry in B'ham. It was completely refurbished about 5 years ago and it's really nice. You could take them to the McWane Center (children's museum) and the IMAX theater too. End the day by walking around the corner to the ALabama theater and seeing if they will take you on a tour.

    Betsy, Willow, Marie, Lydia....everyone please come.

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  29. Carol, love your idea. I'm taking you up on it!

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  30. I loved this post. You always make me feel so much pride for my hometown.

    My dad still mourns the train station. He absolutely loved it. We all mourn Joy Young's.

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  31. Thanks for such details taking us to your hometown.
    I been Birmingham once, I took train from Wolverhampton.
    I do enjoy walking in Birmingham :)

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  32. Such a nice way to tour your home town Stevie! You have a wonderful post card collection!

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  33. Very pretty! I love this post. You have a wonderful post card in high collection! Thanks for such details taking us to your hometown. I like this information.

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