Dre\’s Ramblings

Random Shots: Looking in on Ensley

N.B. Due to amount of writing that I’m planning on doing the next few days; I’ll be changing the setup to show one post per page. I apologize in advance for any inconvenience this may cause. The first post in the series on Chicago will be made late this evening.

Fall brings with it new beginnings for children attending school. It also seems to bring new beginnings in everything else in life. Those that have grown up in Birmingham know of the history and current state of the Ensley community, or do you? I’d like to post some images of things taking place in the Ensley and Tuxedo neighborhoods as we approach the beginnings of the school year.

Enjoy the images and look for a complete set later on today after I activate a link to the photo gallery.


A look into Cotton’s Outlet, the new Cotton’s Outlet that is. The Ensley staple is preparing to open an expanded outlet store at 405 19th Street Ensley beginning at 10 a.m. this Saturday, August 5. The store enjoys much more space than its former location. Those that are able to come out and take a look at what they have to offer.


A groundskeeper works on putting the finishing touches on the new playing field for a new P.D. Jackson-Olin High School. Today there were several workers on hand at the new building getting it ready for its first full day of operation on August 10 (next week).


This is the entrance to the new P.D. Jackson-Olin High School along Avenue F, Ensley. Workers were making final adjustments to the opening, which includes a statue of Dr. P.D. Jackson, currently hidden under a sheet. I’m assuming it will remain covered until the official dedication of the school. If it is dedicated on the first day of school, it will take place on August 10.


This mural was recently completed in McAlpine Park in Ensley. I wish I’d gotten some images of the children painting the piece last week. The images show the J-O High School Marching Band, the old Ensley street car and an area gospel choir. There was a blurb about the mural in the paper, however I cannot find it as of yet.

Let me know what you think.



8 Comments so far
Leave a comment

I am currently a senior at J-O and jst wanted to let you know that the school is very nice and the merge went smoothly. Also, what you show as the front of the school really isn’t the front, everyone thought ot was, but it’s actually the side.

Comment by Tiffany

Hi Dre.
I have enjoyed looking at your photos on Flickr and with your permission would like to use one in BIRMINGHAM WEEKLY.

I’m not sure if you saw the cover story we did a few months ago on Tuxedo Junction, but I’m sure you’d be interested.

Keep up the good work.

Glenny Brock

Comment by Glenny Brock

It was a sad day in Birmingham, when Ensley High School closed its’ doors. There is a lot of history left at that high school; so much so that I didn’t think they would close it. I once attended the well-known state high school and am glad to call myself and alumnus. I chose to go to Ensley over the then Banks, Huffman, Ramsay and School of Fine Arts, because of its tradition. While I no longer live in Birmingham, I feel now more than ever, a deep disconnect from my city and community (Ensley). No longer when I visit can I hang out at my old stomping grounds. In closing, I will like to say this; while the new school (P.D. Jackson-Olin) looks nice, I would have to question its’ new location. The location should have remained on the more historical ground at Ensley Magnet High School. Here’s the reason why I say that. Since I was a kid, the word Ensley was synonymous with the western Birmingham, not J.O. (Pratt City). Besides, more people from out-of-state who knows nothing about Birmingham, knows about Ensley. Lastly, if the two schools did merge, what happened to the name Ensley? After all, it is still the largest community in western Birmingham and deserves some recognition.

Comment by ontario lacey

I toured the school a few months ago and was quited amazed. My favorite part is the auditorium. I mean it is beautiful!!!! One of the nicest of any high school/college I’ve ever seen. This school is long. It felt like it took an hour to walk from the north end to the south end. I wish I would’ve had such a nice environment to learn in, but hey i loved the old j.o. there’s no place else like it….

Comment by Mustang '03

hello, i am a freshman at J.O. and i just wanted to say that J.O. is not a pleasant place to be at. Its constantly drama going on, the office people(from the old J.O.) has bad attitudes, and its just not enough space. I am grateful i have a nice school to learn in but the new J.O. can perfectly fit this phrase,” whats new isnt always better”, its close to 1700 students go there, and really only built the school for 1200, its terrible. The faculty, the principals has no school pride, we dont get to do anything, when football season was in they constantly reminded us that we needed to go support our team, but we constantly asking them how can we have the pep to support our teams, when we never have any pep rallies, we didnt even have a homecoming foreal, we just had a bombfire at night time,we didnt have the special homecoming week, like twin day, tacky day, none of those things. Quite honestly the only thing that is good at J.O. is the band,and if i dont make flag girl, then theres no reason for me to stay at J.O., im leaving.

Comment by A freshman

Hey “A Freshman,”

I feel that everything you state will eventually come to, once the transition has smoothed out more and the rivalry students graduate.

The class of 2011, will know nothing about J.O. vs. Ensley. All they will know is J.O., which in turn should reduce the ruckus you speak of.

As far as school spirt. Except for my freshman year in 99, we didn’t have all that either. Instead the school focused more on education and being in clear status.

We had a ball my senior year after we cleared. That’s when Rueben won Idol. His dad taught at J.O.

Vonnetta Flowers in ’02

The news stayed at J.O. but for positive reasons.

I hope you make the flagline.

Get invovled to make your school better. After all, the school is the students—-not the building.

Comment by Mustang '03

boi j.o. jumpin

Comment by !!ght

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