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New Artifacts at the Birmingham History Center

The sale of our very successful Historic Birmingham and Jefferson County book by Jim Bennett has resulted in a lot of money which we can use to do things such as help the History Center. Here are two (2) recent examples:

A pair of correct c 1890 lamps for the wonderful Brewster carriage are now proudly mounted so go down and take a look. Thanks go out to Bayliss Machine for fabricating the new brackets. This carriage was originally restored with a new pair of “Home Depot specials” made for houses but now we have the proper antique lamps.

Secondly we have three (3) beautiful images of the principal Birmingham founders: Josiah Morris, James Powell and John T. Milner. Your writer discovered by chance that there were original paintings of Morris (as in Morris Avenue), Powell (as in Powell Avenue) and Milner, painted in oil around 1900, at the Alabama Department of Archives and History in Montgomery. I phoned my friend Dr. Ed Bridges requesting a gift, purchase, or long term loan of the original paintings, none of which was acceptable to them. The next option was to have identical framed copies made on canvas and we hired Image Arts in Crestline to go down to Montgomery, digitally photograph the originals, clean up the wear and tear with Photoshop. Now we have three (3) actual size images in beautiful frames hanging at The Birmingham History Center. Unless you’re an art expert I think you will feel that you are seeing three 110 year old oil paintings! Go down there and take a look.


Historic Birmingham and Jefferson County – 2nd Edition

—by James R. Bennett

Now Available

The first new history on Birmingham and Jefferson County in 25 years, this volume sold out its first edition in six months. Written by former Alabama Secretary of State Jim Bennett, the book chronicles the area’s rich history from the days of the earliest settlers through the remarkable development of the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Call Thomas M. West, Jr. Book Chairman at 205- 871-5365 to buy your hardback copy

Price: $50 (hardcover)


New Historical Marker Erected

In December we installed a new Historical Marker commemorating The Old Mill on side one and Robert Jemison, Jr. on side two.

As with most of our markers, now costing around $2,500, we raise the money so that the Jefferson County Historical Association is not charged. This marker cost was funded 50% from the Friends of Jemison Park and 50% from the City of Mountain Brook. Thanks go out to Mountain Brook Mayor Terry Oden and Friends of Jemison Park president Sally Worthen, and the city sign crew for their help in this important project. Jefferson County Historical Association past president Ed Stevenson was very, very helpful with this project.

My friend Elbert Jemison, Jr. was so very interested from the beginning but sadly passed away shortly before he could see the marker go up.

This marker tells two (2) stories and the wording on each is below. Our new name Jefferson County Historical Association and new seal adorn the new marker.

Old Mill/Jemison Historical Marker
The Old Mill (1927)

On this site John Perryman operated a grist mill, from 1867 until 1887, which ground corn grown by local farmers.
The Old Mill, under the management of Miss Frances Bomer, served breakfast, afternoon tea and dinner. Meals ranged from 50¢ to $1.75. Local residents found it to be a delightful rest stop while on horseback rides.
Perryman’s old original millstone was unearthed and used in the current building’s stone fireplace.
After the tearoom operation closed The Old Mill has been used as a private dwelling and for over 50 years was the home of William B. O’Neal. The Mill image is the official logo for the City of Mountain Brook.
Erected in 2010 by the Jefferson County Historical Association, City of Mountain Brook and Friends of Jemison Park.

Old Mill/Jemison Historical Marker
Robert Jemison, Jr. (1878 – 1974)
The Father of Mountain Brook

A man of great vision, dreams and enthusiasm, Robert Jemison, Jr. was by far the greatest real estate developer of Birmingham’s 20th century. The Post-Herald newspaper dubbed him “Mr. Birmingham.”
Jemison said about Mountain Brook Estates “…landscape architects and engineers have adroitly blended the convenience of city life into this picturesque environment without disturbing nature’s craftsmanship.”
He built Mountain Brook Club, Mountain Brook Village, The Old Mill, Mountain Brook Grammar School, Mountain Brook Riding Academy and also Fairfield, Bush Hills, Ensley Highlands, Forest Park and Glen Iris.
He built the original Tutwiler Hotel, Ridgely Apartments, Empire Building, Jemison-Seibels Building, Stallings Building, Newberry Building, Porter Clothing Co. Building, Elmwood Cemetery and Redmont Gardens Apartments.
He handled the site acquisition for Country Club of Birmingham, City (Boutwell) Auditorium, Jefferson County Courthouse and Ramsay High School.
Erected in 2010 by the Jefferson County Historical Association, City of Mountain Brook and Friends of Jemison Park

The Birmingham Music Club and The Guild
— Present —

BRAVO! Birmingham Gala Evening
Friday, January 28, 2011
Country Club of Birmingham

Show Saturday, March 5, 2011
Wright Center, Samford University

Birmingham has talent! The Birmingham Music Club (BMC) will celebrate its 105th year as a leading cultural resource in Alabama by hosting an elegant gala and presenting BRAVO! Birmingham to showcase widely recognized performers with local roots. Over the years, the BMC has earned a distinguished reputation for bringing world-class artists from around the globe to Birmingham audiences.In 2011, the BMC turns its spotlight on home-grown performers whose talents have brought them recognition on the national and international scene.

The anniversary celebration includes two events: A black-tie gala at 7:00 p.m. on Friday, January 28, 2011, at Birmingham Country Club and the BRAVO! Birmingham show at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 5, 2011 at Samford University’s Wright Center. Ticket prices, beginning at $125, cover both events. Information and reservations for the gala are available from Martha Black at (205) 969-3556. Prices for tickets to the show only begin at $20 with group ticket prices available. Show tickets may be obtained after December 1 by calling the Wright Center Box Office at (205) 726-2407.

The gala evening on January 28 at Birmingham Country Club includes a cocktail reception, seated dinner, live auction, and entertainment by BRAVO! Performers. Live auction items include a fabulous “April in Paris” trip to an ancestral house located 25 miles outside of Paris, a week’s vacation in Hilton Head, golf rounds at the best courses in town, a relaxing week in New Hampshire at a lake home, box seats for football games, a dinner for 12 catered by Sherron Goldstein, exquisite jewelry from Barton-Clay Fine Jewelers, and more.

An individual Patron ticket for the dinner in January is $125 and also entitles the holder to attend the show in March. A limited number of Junior Patron tickets are available at only $80. Other ticket levels, which include special amenities for additional guests, are Bronze ($500) and Silver ($1,000). Corporate tickets for tables of eight are $2,500 (Gold) and $5,000 (Platinum). All proceeds from the dinner and the show benefit the BMC Concert Series and BMC Guild Music Scholarship Fund. Co-chairs for both events are Marsha Drennen and Jeanne Bradford.

The BRAVO! Productions, highlighting nationally recognized musical talent with Birmingham ties, will showcase several music genres, including classical, bluegrass, country, folk, and gospel, all blended seamlessly for a fun-filled evening. Carl Dean is director, and Bobby Horton is master of ceremonies. BRAVO! Performers include Yakov Kasman, Silver Medallist at the Tenth Van Clibrun International Piano Competition; the popular musical comedy act “Three on a String;” gifted baritone Daniel Seigel, who won the National Federation of Music Club’s 2009 Youth Artist Competition and, in November 2010 will make his Carnegie Hall debut; The Birmingham Sunlights, winners of a prestigious National Endowment for the Arts Lifetime Fellowship; the Birmingham Junior League Choral Group, acclaimed for its performances at Carnegie Hall and Vienna’s International Haydn Festival; and the ever popular “Four for Time,” featuring Carl Dean, Kristi Tingle Higginbotham, Jan Hunter and Lonnie Parsons.

After the show, patrons are invited to enjoy coffee and gourmet desserts with the stars on the Wright Center Mezzanine. For information, visit www.bhammusicclub.org or call the Wright Center at (205) 726-2407 after December 1, 2010.


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