Originally incorporated as the Town of Highland on May 14, 1887, Five Points South has grown enormously from the street car suburb it once was. Today, the community is regarded as one of Birmingham’s most distinguished historical districts – with fine architectural, historical and cultural resources on nearly every corner.
This week, Five Points South celebrated its 131st birthday – and we asked fixtures in the Five Points community to reflect on what makes the district feel special.
Lifetime Five Points resident Gary Bostany encourages visitors to see some of the less traveled areas by taking a walk through historical residential areas. Bostany, the designer behind the district’s upcoming historic district sign toppers, says the diverse architecture serves as a metaphor for the assortment of culture found at Five Points.
“Five Points is the only place in the state where the richest of the rich and poorest of the poor come together in such a way,” Bostany said.
Steve Alexander is the chair of The Five Points Alliance, which helps serve the economic and residential needs of the district. He said that throughout the neighborhood’s history different cultures migrating to the area has helped preserve its legacy.
“The diversity created in this melting pot is one of the greatest strengths of our neighborhood,” Alexander said. “Within less than four square miles, Five Points South has million-dollar homes and student housing; late night music clubs and Sunday morning church choirs; martini bars and brew pubs.”
Five Points South is full of unique opportunities to experience past and present. Here are just a few ways you can celebrate the district’s rich culture in its birthday month:
- Check out the Alexander Dearborn residence where “Gone with the Wind” author Margaret Mitchell lived in 1922
- Eat at one of the many esteemed restaurants in the area, including Highlands Bar & Grill – named most outstanding restaurant in America at the James Beard Awards via AL.com.
- Visit the Storyteller Fountain, the popular Five Points South landmark commissioned in part by former Mayor Richard Arrington Jr.
- Formally located at 1026 20th Street South, the Coston Shoe Shop – owned by African American shoe maker Pinkey Coston — was the first commercial building in the area.
- Visit Birmingham native and academy award nominated Hugh Martin’s childhood home where he wrote “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”