Category Archives: Birmingham Historical Society

Reminder: Heritage Society Gathering

Heritage Society members, thank you for your support! Don’t forget that this Sunday, May 7th at 5:00 PM is the annual gathering. You should have received an invitation via USPS and this is an RSVP event. Any last minute responses should be directed to BHS Director Marjorie White.

Drawing for invitation by BHS Heritage Society member, Louise McPhillips

Missed this event but want to join for next year? More information is available HERE. See you Sunday!

What is the architectural style of your home?

Curious about whether your home fits the classic description of a particular architectural style? This was the focus of the BHS book, A Guide to Architectural Styles, featuring Birmingham Homes. Line drawings are accompanied by details to look for when determining architectural characteristics. Forty-five popular Birmingham styles include the Bungalow, Cottage, Ranch, Split-Level, Classical Revival, Shotgun, Tudor, Prairie, and Craftsman. An example of the ever popular Craftsman Style home is pictured below:

Who were Birmingham’s early pioneers?

The last printed copy of The Birmingham News has now come and gone, but does anyone remember the special section, True Tales, published every Saturday from February 1991 to April 1992? A project of the Birmingham Historical Society, these stories were assembled in a book entitled True Tales of Birmingham and published in 1992. Here are a few pages…

Heritage Society Gathering May 7th, 2023

One of the society’s most anticipated events is the annual spring gathering at one of Birmingham’s beautiful historic homes. This year we will be hosted May 7th, Sunday evening, at 5PM at the Northington-Murray House. You must be a Heritage Society member to attend. But we’d love for you to join us! Here’s how

From the Pantheon in Rome to Lawson State Community College

The anti-slavery story of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, by abolitionist Harriet Beecher Stowe, is one of the most influential books in American History. First published in 1852, prior to the Civil War, it pointed out the appalling realities of American slavery and subsequently, it was once banned in Alabama. So when a very rare 1880 edition was discovered in Rome, Italy, by Italian lawyer Arlene Rochlin, a descendant of the Blach family department stores in Birmingham, she knew it needed to be housed in an historically Black college in her grandparent’s hometown. (Read the entire article by Kyra Miles on

Lawson State Community College now has the book proudly on display in their library and it is a part of their permanent collection.

Some modern scholars have called the book condescending but in the 19th century, it was recognized as a best selling novel, second in sales only to The Bible. However, by the 20th century, unauthorized stage plays & films were too often demeaning and insensitive with a political or financial agenda and were loathed by the African American community. The character of Uncle Tom was distorted and offensive. Unfortunately, Stowe had no control over these alterations of her story and the resulting stereotypes. Despite this, today, the original novel is still considered a landmark of ‘protest literature’ and Christian forbearance.

The story of its publication is interesting as well as it’s been in continuous print since 1852, although with ever-changing publishers and controversy. Read more about it HERE and then re-read the novel!