Dre\’s Ramblings

Random Shots: The spotlight’s on the Junction
May 7, 2006, 3:13 pm
Filed under: Birmingham, AL, Random shots, urban issues

Current Day Downtown Ensley

Tomorrow’s scheduled groundbreaking for the Tuxedo Court HOPE VI development that was reported in the Birmingham News provides a great opportunity to post a picture of current day Ensley. The picture was taken from Avenue H looking up 19th Street Ensley towards the heart of the old commercial district and the former main gate for the TCI Ensley Steel Works, once one of the largest employers in the city and the region. Wikipedia.com has an excellent entry on the history of the district, one on the verge of a renaissance in the eyes of some, including myself. Some things to take note of include the old site of the Western Area Health Center, visible in the immediate foreground on the right, and the Ramsay McCormick Building. That towering structure is visible in the background of the photo on the right with the star located towards its top. There are more than 70 merchants still dedicated to the commercial district and the surrounding residential areas, including Ideal Furniture, whose red and white sign is visible on the right of the photo as well.

The HOPE VI project slated for construction on the site of the old housing development cannot by itself be expected to change the current character and perceived vibrancy of the commercial district. Efforts already underway among area merchants and community leaders will lead the way in that regard. The redevelopment of Tuxedo Court and other activities written about in this week’s Ramble will provide a reason to take a second look at the area to many people, providing a symbolic effort to recapture the magic in the Junction.



2 Comments so far
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Dre, a search for the MCCormick-Ramsay Building brought me to your site. My Great-grandfather and my Grandfather both practiced denistry in the building with an office on the 6th floor. My grandfather kept his practice in Ensley until he retired in the 80’s. He and my grandmother built their first house in Bush Hills.

Most of my family came from Ensley and Bessemer. I am saddened my the decline of both, but optimistic as I read your writings of hope. Thank you for keeping everyone up to date on the progress and holding people accountable for continued attention in the area. It means a great deal to many of us for many different reasons.

Comment by S Buttram

Great story, do you have any idea the history of Ensley as to where the people came from and the lineage of the Ensleys the city was named for?
I am doing ancestry wwork and find Ensley branches all over the USA. Thanks for any help with this quqest!!

Comment by George Ensley

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