Birmingham’s Ensley community is alive, y’all. Why you should check it out.


Kids from two rec centers in Ensley hosted an "America's best dance crew" competition back in 2016.
In July 2016, two rec centers in Ensley, McAlpine and Ensley Rec Centers, held an “America’s best dance crew” battle at Legion Field. Photo from Ensley Alive’s Facebook page

Once upon a time, the Ensley community was a vibrant steel town in its own right. Now, a group called “Ensley Alive” is working to breathe new life into this once-vibrant part of town, celebrating both the past, present and future of the place they call home.

Where is the Ensley community?

The Ensley community of Birmingham includes these six neighborhoods:

Ensley: a little history

Ensley got its start as a steel town shortly after the Civil War. It was home to the Ensley Works Steel Mill, which brought prosperity to the area during many of the years it ran—from 1888 to 1976.

Ensley was was annexed into Birmingham in 1910. In the late 1930s, jazz great Erskine Hawkins wrote and recorded “Tuxedo Junction,” named for the place where the streetcars met. Tuxedo Junction became a huge hit, and he remains one of Ensley’s most famous sons.

Not only was there an area called “Little Italy”— there were also sizable Jewish, Greek and Irish communities. It was quite the happening place.

Downtown Ensley was so lovely.
Back in the day, Ensley was a thriving part of town, thanks to the booming local steel industry. Photo from Ensley Alive’s Facebook page

What’s special about the area?

Kids working on a gardening project in the Ensley community.
Kids working together on a gardening project. Ensley Alive’s Facebook page

According to folks from Ensley Alive, the area is known for its “great jazz and music history.”

Here are some other happening places in the area:

Where do locals go to eat or hang out in the Ensley community?

Food at the Wallace Lounge includes fish sandwiches.
Fish sandwich at Wallace Lounge. Photo by Montal Morton from Facebook

What’s my home worth?

Sometimes when you check out other neighborhoods, it can get you thinking about moving … BRIK Realty has a handy dandy calculator that can help give you an idea of what your options might be.

What events are coming up in Ensley?

The vibrancy you’ll find in Ensley now is all about the people. And the people are cooking up some fun festivals and events over the next few months.

Best Instagram spot / the one thing that everyone who visits the Ensley community needs to see?

You’ll find this amazing mural on the side of The Bethesda Life Center, Inc.

Ride in style with a new Ford Mustang as you traverse through Birmingham. For a limited time in July, Adamson Ford is offering $4,000 to $5,000 off ALL NEW Ford Mustangs. Visit their site, or call 844-352-6600 to speak to your car experts today.

Where can I read about the other neighborhoods?

This is the 1oth installment in a 23-part series Bham Now is doing to feature Birmingham’s 23 communities, comprising 99 neighborhoods. So far, we’ve featured the following communities:

There is definitely some good energy in Ensley these days. To keep up with what’s happening, follow The Color Project, Ensley Alive, Branding Ensley, Build Up, and REV Birmingham’s Ensley coverage to find out more.

Sponsored by:

Sharron Swain
Sharron Swain

Writer, Interviewer + Adventurer | Telling stories to make a difference

Articles: 720