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The Menu Collection of the Birmingham History Center

—by: Thomas M. West, Jr.–Artifacts Chairman


hen the Birmingham History Center started its artifacts collection, finding many of the original menus for local eating establishments seemed to be something the public would enjoy seeing.

Today, our Joy Young American-Chinese Restaurant display is a visitor favorite.

One criteria we established was that the restaurant had to be no longer in operation and with a few exceptions, such as some private clubs, that remains the rule. The older the better and our earliest one dates to about 1900. Only Jefferson County locations would be collected with the exception of U.S. Navy ships.

There are many that we cannot find, such as Mary Ball, and if you have an old menu to add to our collection, please contact me at 871‑5365.

LaParee Restaurant

LaParee Restaurant (Virginia Jones).


Jack-O-Lantern (ca 1940)
Ollie’s Bar B Que (1925)
Tutwiler Hotel Continental Room
Joy Young (ca 1950)
Joy Young (ca 1960)
Hotel Hillman
Johnnie’s Original Bar B Que
LaParee (1950)
Joe’s Ranch House (1960)
Parliament House Sidewalk Café
Airport Grill (1931)
Pasquale’s Pizza
Dale’s Cellar
Parliament House Baron of Beef
Mrs. Todd’s Cafeteria
Jefferson Sea Food (ca 1940)

President Taft Banquet Hillman Hotel
Highland Bar B Que
Gold Star Bar B Que
Loveman’s Tea Room
Shanghai Low Chinese
Cobb Lane
Mims B. Stone Soda Fountain (ca 1900)
The Gold Nugget (ca 1960)
The Downtown Club
Top of 21
The Dragon
Mary Beard’s Tea Room (1935)
GG’s in the Park
El Gringo
The Great Wall
Bama Gardens at the State Fair

The Club (1955)
Mountain Brook Club (1929)
Mountain Brook Club (1957)
Mountain Brook Club (1962)
Mountain Brook Club (1973)
Vestavia Country Club (1957)

•  USS Birmingham (CL-2)
•  Thanksgiving Day 1908
•  USS Birmingham (CL-62) Christmas     Day 1945
•  USS Birmingham (CL-62) World War     II Victory Dinner 1945
•  USS Alabama Commissioning     Dinner 1942


Hillman Hotel restaurant menu

Hillman Hotel restaurant, January 12, 1902.


September 19, 1902

Booker T. Washington and the Shiloh Baptist Church Tragedy

From The Birmingham Public Library



eople came early to Shiloh Baptist Church on the evening of September 19, 1902. The National Baptist Convention, an African American organization, was holding its annual meeting in Birmingham, and 2,000 delegates were present from several states. The featured speaker on this night was Booker T. Washington. Shiloh Baptist Church, an impressive brick structure on the city’s Southside, had been completed the year before and was built to seat 3,000 people. Spectators hoping to hear Washington began arriving hours before the event, and all seats were taken well before the speaker arrived. People continued to push their way into the church, packing the aisles and stairways well beyond capacity. As Washington finished his talk two men began to argue over a seat on the stage. A woman nearby yelled, "Fight!" Many in the crowded and noisy sanctuary mistook "Fight!" for "Fire!" and people in the rear of the church scrambled for the door. As people pushed from the main floor and down the stairs from the balcony the crowd clogged the door and entranceway. In the entranceway the bodies piled up eight to ten feet deep and those on bottom were trampled to death or suffocated from the weight.

Between 70 and 80 people died at the church during the ten minute stampede. Hundreds more were injured and the final death toll was 120. For Booker T. Washington the Shiloh tragedy was a reminder of the danger created by the large crowds who came to hear him speak. For Birmingham, the tragedy was so awful that it brought a short respite from racial antagonism. Several months after the tragedy Robert Henry Walker, Jr., a Washington, D. C. minister whose sister lived in Birmingham, collected survivor accounts and photographs relating to the tragedy and published them as The Trumpet Blast. Walker’s book, along with the newspaper coverage, provides most of what we now know about the stampede.

Shiloh Baptist Church

An online exhibit at the library’s web site includes the full text of The Trumpet Blast as well as newspaper articles and photographs relating to the tragedy.

Shiloh Baptist Church once stood where the UAB Medical Center is today.

Heaven Knows Mr. Allison Movie ad

Birmingham News, May, 1957.



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