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.