Shades Creek: Flowing Through Time
(Click image to purchase from Amazon)
The creek meanders through our own lives. Yet knowing the strength and influence of Shades Creek, its history, and how it shapes the world around us is a daunting task without assistance. All the answers, written as lyrically as the creek streams along, are contained in Shades Creek: Flowing Through Time, the newest volume from the Birmingham Historical Society.
The story of “our creek” begins 330 million years ago and proceeds through Native American occupation, early settlement, the Civil War, visionary plans for a region in harmony with its natural surroundings–and, more currently, the rise of the environmental movement and sites to visit along the 55.8-mile creek that runs from Birmingham through Iron-dale, Mountain Brook, Homewood, Hoover, Bessemer, and Jefferson, Shelby, and Bibb Counties to its confluence with the Cahaba River. If that’s a mouthful, worry not. The reading of the book is assuredly a riveting and enjoyable visit with the creek and the developments it has witnessed over time.
It’s also an elegant telling of our region’s history as seen through an undeniable force flowing from long ago to today’s region of distinction. The very distinguished E. O. Wilson, Alabama native and Professor of Comparative Zoology at Harvard University, had an early look at the book. He writes, “I’ve now studied the proof of the Shades Creek volume. And I’m enthralled. The book will help to shape the image of our city closer to the reality of its charmed beauty.”
Others see the book as a call to action for future generations. Henry Hughes and Michelle Blackwood of Friends of Shades Creek say, “This book is a first step toward understanding the ecological and human history of Shades Creek, restoring what has been lost, and preventing unnecessary loss by employing techniques of preservation and intelligent design where development is inevitable.”
Accompanying the book’s words are 365 photographs, maps, and drawings to layer the narrative with visuals–from aaaah to informative. “We at the Birmingham Historical Society consider this one of our most important publications to date,” says Marjorie White, BHS executive director, “It continues our mission to fully explore the resources–natural and man-made–that form the city and region we represent and cherish.”