Birmingham is a city with a rich history. As a result, there are thousands of wonderful pictures of Birmingham over the years. I tried to recapture many of these scenes to compare the past and present. Here are the results!
I have always been fascinated with old photos of Birmingham. For my post on Birmingham’s early churches, I experimented with comparing two photos. After that, I knew I could reliably compare photos of Birmingham’s past and present.
All original photos are property of the Birmingham Public Library Digital Collection. Make sure to use the slider to transition between the photos!
Original Photo by Alfred C. Keily, taken May 29th, 1949
The Pizitz Building, built in 1923, served downtown as the flagship building of the Pizitz Department Store chain. Although the building closed in 1988, it has since been reinvented. After purchasing it in 2000, Bayer Properties transformed it into a multi-use development. The building now hosts The Pizitz Food Hall, the Forge coworking space, and The Pizitz Residences!
16th Street Baptist Church
Original photo by Oscar Virgil Hunt, taken in 1924
Founded in 1873, the 16th Street Baptist Church is almost as old as Birmingham itself! Although the original building was torn down in 1908, the congregation replaced it in 1911 with the grand building we now know.
In 2018, 16th Street Baptist Church won a $150,000 Partners in Preservation grant that allows the church to install protective glass around the historic stained-glass windows and make repairs to the twin bell towers.
1st Avenue North
Original photo by W.B. Philips, taken 1939
This old photo shows the Protective Life Building on 1st Avenue North. For 48 years, the building was the home of Protective Life Insurance. Although the building has been empty for 10 years, developer Rhaglan Hospitality is planning to transform the building into a 96-room luxury hotel. Rhaglan Hospitality previously redeveloped the Redmont Hotel.
Loveman's Department Store/McWane Science Center
Original photo by Oscar Virgil Hunt, taken 1936
Did you know that the McWane Science Center building used to be a department store?
Loveman’s operated as a department store in Birmingham since 1887. After the original building burned down in 1934, Loveman’s constructed a new building the next year. The building was one of the first in the United States to feature air-conditioning and escalators!
2nd Ave. North - past and present
Original photo by Oscar Virgil Hunt
This undated photo by Birmingham photographer Oscar Virgil Hunt shows 2nd Avenue North, looking east from 19th Street. In the background, you can see the Jefferson County Savings Bank Building (now known as the City Federal Building). The City Federal building now hosts 84 beautiful condominiums, with a stunning view over Birmingham!