Tag Archives: Marjorie White

Take me out to the OLDEST ballpark 🎵🎶

America’s oldest ballpark right here in Birmingham

Lifetime and passionate baseball fan and writer, Sean Dietrich, aka Sean of the South, recently discovered Rickwood Field, America’s oldest ballpark, and brings it to life for us with THIS colorful description. One of our favorite Southern writers, he really loves the game and frequently explains why in his daily column. Don’t miss his article, “The Old Ballgame”. So after attending a travel game here, Sean toured the facility with Friends of Rickwood volunteer Randy Ferguson, who told him,

“Sad thing is, you’d be surprised how many folks in Birmingham have never heard of Rickwood Field….Tell everyone you know to come visit us.”

Birmingham Historical Society board member Tom Cosby reminds us that just as the Friends of Rickwood were getting started 30 years ago, the Birmingham Historical Society, through the efforts of Marjorie White, got HABS/HAER (the Historic American Building Survey and the Historic American Engineering Record) to visit Birmingham and fully document the unassailable fact that Rickwood Field was, indeed, the oldest baseball park in America.

Local artist Terry Slaughter took those measured HABS drawings, colored them, and turned them into the promotional rendering that kick started the preservation of Rickwood. And with those efforts, the Friends of Rickwood have been able to effectively raise just enough money to help save (so far) this ancient and historic ballpark — a ballpark where such American legends as Willie Mays, Babe Ruth and Reggie Jackson once played.

So we’re repeating the words of Randy, as recorded by Sean Dietrich:

“The best thing anyone can do is tell your friends about this place. Don’t let history die. Tell everyone you know to come visit us.”

Thank you Sean, for spreading the word!

Brock’s Gap as a Pedestrian Pathway per Hoover Developer

Click HERE for full article

The mission of the Birmingham Historical Society includes supporting the preservation of historic landmarks and educating the community about their significance. This often requires field study, mapping, photography, and fact checking before informing owners and developers about their property’s history.

Many times, owners are initially unaware of the historic significance of their property, but once it’s pointed out, they begin to see the historic landmarks on their property as amenities that not only need to be preserved but that can also enhance its marketability .

As posted in The Hoover Sun by Jon Anderson on November 25, 2021, Developer and Signature Homes President, Jonathon Belcher, soon realized how working around Brock’s Gap could enhance any future development as he states:

“… (he) wants to use the Brock’s Gap cut as a pedestrian pathway to help connect Ross Bridge and the Everlee community to 10 miles of mountain bike trails his company built in Trace Crossings, and eventually to historic coke ovens across the Cahaba River in Helena.”

“For us, that old railbed will serve as a great connector trail that’s already built, so we like having that there,” he said. “It enhances the communities we create.”

Completed 150 years ago, the beautiful, forested railbed at Brock’s Gap was the last and most laborious stretch of the South and North Alabama Railroad that finally connected Montgomery to the mineral region of central Alabama. With this important link finally in place, the city of Birmingham was founded a month later, on December 19th, 1871. For more photos and information, please click here and scroll to read all articles related to this issue (including this one).

And a year later, the final link of South & North —from Birmingham to Decatur — created the first railway linking the north and the south in the United States.

Thanks largely to the efforts of Birmingham Historical Society trustees, Marjorie White and Birgit Kibelka, the importance of Brock’s Gap has been brought to the attention of not only the community, but also to the developers and city leaders who will determine its future. For the Birmingham Historical Society, that is their stated mission, accomplished.

BHS concerns considered for Planned Parkway that could destroy Historic Landmark

It’s rewarding when the efforts of Birmingham Historical Society trustees to preserve a first-class historical site are not only recognized, but seriously considered by city leaders and developers in urban planning. Thanks to the research and site visits of BHS Director Marjorie White, and BHS Trustee and Hoover resident Birgit Kilbeka, plans for a 4 mile parkway that could potentially destroy the landmark Brock’s Gap are now being debated. This article in The Hoover Sun by Jon Anderson highlights the importance of what is being proposed.

An earlier BHS post follows the mile long walk along the railbed. And this BHS article highlights the importance of Brock’s Gap to the City of Birmingham and why it needs to be preserved.

Thank you to Birmingham Historical Society Trustees for bringing historical sites to the attention of developers. And thank you to developers and city planners for listening and responding to these concerns!

Ross Bridge – Remnants of the Civil War Era

The 2020 annual meeting focused on a portion of Shades Valley originally developed for the South & North Alabama Railroad which is now in the Ross Bridge community. A beautifully designed stone culvert, c. 1864, which bridged Shades Creek is all that remains of the original railroad causeway designed to bring iron ore from the Oxmoor Furnaces to Confederate arsenals.

A project of one of Birmingham’s important pioneers, John T. Milner, his railroad led to the founding of Birmingham in December of 1871. Several descendants of Milner’s attended the meeting along with an audience of over a hundred. The history of the area was presented by BHS Director, Marjorie White, and the construction of the bridge was illustrated and discussed by Birgit Kibelka.

The meeting began with a presentation of the strategic plan for BHS by Joe Limbaugh, and was followed by a ‘taste testing’ of eighteen cakes and pies based on a memorable family recipe, organized by Carolanne Roberts. Each entry was accompanied by a family history or story, and many had been baked annually for special occasions or presented as gifts for years!

2020 Annual Meeting

Birmingham Historical Society’s  ANNUAL MEETING

A Publication Celebration and Family Favorites Cake and Pie Contest

Monday February 24, 2020

7:00 p.m. Strange Auditorium at Birmingham Botanical Gardens

PROGRAM

  • 2020 and Beyond-Our Strategic Plan By Joe Limbaugh
  • Ross Bridge-The Old South Invests in the New By Birgit Kibelka
  • John T. Milner and the Making of Birmingham By Marjorie White

SIGNING OF THE NEWLY RE-RELEASED 

The Birmingham District-An Industrial History and Guide

The indispensable guide to the rise of area industry and communities

Re-Release of 1981 Publication for2020 Annual Meeting and Membership