What makes Birmingham unique? Besides the fantastic food and awesome residents, Birmingham is fortunate to have a lot of historic charm in the city center. Birmingham was founded during the post-Civil War reconstruction period in 1871. Birmingham was a boomtown, and its rapid expansion during the late 19th and early 20th century earned Birmingham the nickname “The Magic City.”  A significant amount of the architecture of that period of growth is still with us today. Many historic buildings, including the Zinszer Building, the John Hand and The Frank, have been successfully redeveloped while preserving their original charm.

May is Historic Preservation Month, which aims to raise awareness about the importance of preserving historic buildings. Thanks to a history of enlightened developers, public effort and incentives like the Historic Tax Credit, Birmingham has seen investment into this historic fabric.  However, we have experienced some tragic losses.  Even now there are significant historic resources in downtown that need a preservation solution. These buildings have the potential to be redeveloped for future projects and deserve a public and private commitment to their preservation and adaptive reuse.  It enhance the aesthetic appeal and authenticity of Birmingham but also makes economic sense.

Five treasures that need your attention today:

What are some ways you can get involved and save these beautiful and iconic buildings?

  1. Champion the cause of historic preservation! Be an advocate by attending local neighborhood meetings and writing letters to your representatives. You can use Bhamwiki, an ever-growing encyclopedic resource, to learn more about Birmingham’s history.
  2. Educate yourself: Images of America book series highlights several Birmingham towns, which include historical building information written by local historians (like yours truly, David Fleming.) You can find these books on Amazon or even at Filter coffee shop – an ideal way to immerse yourself in the rich history of the city!
  1. Support local businesses in historic buildings: The Pizitz, McWane Science Center, and Alabama and Lyric Theater are just a few examples of ways to indulge in the beauty of Birmingham. Supporting local businesses in historic buildings not only benefits the community but also attracts additional investment, helping to bring even more prosperity and development to Downtown Birmingham.
  2. Raise awareness: Capture the beauty of historical buildings through photographs, conduct research, and engage in conversations to create awareness and spark conservation efforts. Every comment and discussion helps to foster appreciation and value for these timeless treasures, increasing the likelihood of their preservation.

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