112 years ago, the first train arrived at the Birmingham Terminal Station on the evening of June 30

Photo of the Birmingham Terminal, courtesy of Birmingham Landmarks, Inc.

The first train to arrive at the majestic Birmingham Terminal Station did so on the evening of June 30, 1907 at 10:50.

Here is how that momentous occasion occurred, now 112 years ago, as described in the Bhamwiki entry about the Birmingham Terminal:

“The station’s construction took two years and cost $2 million. The first train to stop at the new platform, nearly two years before the station building was completed, arrived on the evening of June 30, 1907. Station master Lee C. Jones oversaw the first use of the telephone block signal system that guided the Southern Railway train to the south platform at 10:50 PM.”

The grand opening for the station was on April 6. 1909.


Demolition

Picture of Birmingham Terminal hanging on the wall in the Cedar House Restaurant in Tarrant, Alabama. Photo by Pat Byington for Bham Now

The Birmingham Terminal served our community for 60 years.  Ironically, according to Bhamwiki, on June 30, 1969, the same day, the first train rode into the station 62 years later, the Alabama Public Service Commission gave permission to demolish the grand old building.

Missed opportunity

The loss of the Birmingham Terminal Station has been a sore subject for historic preservationists in Birmingham now for five decades.

It was a missed opportunity.


Communities such as Tacoma, Washington and Chattanooga, Tennessee  restored their beloved train stations.

Tacoma’s Union Station, which looks much like Birmingham’s Terminal, is now a Federal Courthouse and is surrounded by museums, including the world famous Chihuly Glass Museum.

Chattanooga’s station is home to the Chattanooga Choo Choo Hotel and anchors a tourism and entertainment district.


Inside the Chattanooga Terminal Station rotunda during Christmas. Photo by Pat Byington for Bham Now

Never forget

“You don’t know what you got till its gone….” ~ Joni Mitchell

Birmingham has made great strides, especially over the past 5-10 years restoring some of our most precious historical buildings – The Florentine, Pizitz and the Thomas Jefferson Tower just to name a few.

Birmingham, The Florentine Building
The Florentine Building. Photo via bhamwiki.
The Pizitz is a multi-use development with food stalls, retail, residences and co-working. Photo via The Pizitz
Thomas Jefferson Tower, Birmingham, AL. Photo by Jon Eastwood for Bham Now

Visit the Exhibit at the Vulcan Park and Museum

Want to learn more about the Birmingham Terminal Station? The Vulcan Park and Museum is showing a special exhibit about the Terminal.  Don’t miss it!


Toast the Birmingham Terminal Station tonight

We will never forget the Birmingham Terminal Station. Tonight, at 10:50 PM – raise a glass in memory her. May she always be our rallying cry to protect the Magic City’s architectural heritage.

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.