History preserved: unearthed 1920s Homewood trolley tracks incorporated in new road paving

Homewood Trolley tracks
Homewood Trolley tracks
Unearthed Homewood trolley tracks preserved on the corner of Broadway Street and Oxmoor. Photo by Pat Byington for Bham Now.

Last month, Bham Now reported that the City of  Homewood had decided to preserve the unearthed trolley tracks and brick down the center of Broadway street in the Edgewood neighborhood. The project is now complete.

Below are photos taken on July 8th of the newly paved road incorporating the tracks in the design of the busy intersection.

Homewood Trolley tracks
Unearthed Homewood trolley tracks preserved on the corner of Broadway Street and Oxmoor. Photo taken on July 8, 2018 by Pat Byington for Bham Now.
Unearthed Homewood trolley tracks preserved on the corner of Broadway Street and Oxmoor. Photo by Pat Byington for Bham Now.

The 1920s tracks and bricks were discovered when the road construction company was preparing the street for re-paving. The city halted construction on Broadway Street in April, and tasked Dunn Construction to have an expert examine the city’s options.

The expert came back with an option that would preserve a section of the street that enabled the trolley tracks and bricks to remain visible to the public, while also keeping the roadway safe for vehicles. The cost of preserving the tracks and bricks did fall within the budget to pave Broadway.

According to Bhamwiki, the trolley tracks on Broadway were originally part of the Birmingham and Edgewood Electric Railway’s streetcar route in the 1910s and 1920s. The streetcar stopped running prior to World War II.

Homewood trolley tracks
Trolley tracks and bricks unearthed in April 2018 on Broadway Street in Homewood. Photo by Pat Byington for Bham Now.

Todd Keith, author of Birmingham Then & Now   and a resident on Homewood’s Broadway Street described the significance of the effort to preserve the tracks and bricks.

“You can’t value something until you know it exists. Or once existed,” Keith says. “I know that sounds a bit obvious, but Broadway and Edgewood were once connected to one of the more extensive streetcar networks in the South, stretching to downtown Birmingham, Woodlawn, Bessemer, Wenonah, Ensley, East Lake and beyond.”

 

Author: Pat Byington

Longtime conservationist. Former Executive Director at the Alabama Environmental Council and Wild South. Publisher of the Bama Environmental News for more than 18 years. Career highlights include playing an active role in the creation of Alabama's Forever Wild program, Little River Canyon National Preserve, Dugger Mountain Wilderness, preservation of special places throughout the East through the Wilderness Society and the strengthening (making more stringent) the state of Alabama's cancer risk and mercury standards.