The demolition of Carraway Hospital, a beloved Birmingham hospital that closed in 2008, has officially begun. We took a trip out to the historic site to learn more & met Dr. Robert Carraway, the grandson of the hospital’s founder and namesake, Dr. Charles Carraway.
Keep reading to learn more.
Demolition begins on Carraway Hospital
In May, Bham Now reported that the long-anticipated demolition of Carraway Hospital was set to begin shortly, pending approval from the Birmingham City Council. Now, demolition crews have been given the green light to move forward with the demolition of the structure.
The demolition is meant to clear the way for The Star Uptown, a redevelopment of the 52-acre site by Corporate Realty Development (CRD). According to a Bham Now interview with CRD President & CEO Robert Simon, The Star Uptown will include new multi-family units and single-family cottages, retail, office and entertainment options.
“This is an important time for Birmingham and especially for our neighborhoods in north Birmingham,” said Robert Simon, CEO and President of Corporate Realty in a recent press release. “These communities have been working with us for years, and it’s time for this land to once again be an asset for the city and the people who live here.”
Demolition has begun on the first building, located near the corner of Carraway Boulevard and 15th Avenue North. Before the end of the year, eight other buildings on the site are scheduled to be demolished. Several structures, including parking decks and the hospital building, will be cleaned out and refurbished for future use.
According to BhamWiki and Abandoned Southeast, Carraway Hospital traces its roots to 1908, when Dr. Charles Carraway built a small, 16-bed hospital next to his home in Pratt City. Inspired by the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, Dr. Carraway brought in additional doctors to his practice and became the first multi-specialty medical practice in the state.
Over the years, Carraway Hospital grew exponentially—both physically and in reach. In the late 1950s, the hospital added its now-iconic blue star to the roof. By the 1980s, the hospital was the only Level 1 Trauma Center in Birmingham and operated a Lifesaver helicopter program with a doctor on every flight, carrying 30,000+ patients to the hospital over the course of two decades.
However, the hospital ran into financial trouble in the early 2000s. Without a buyer, Carraway Hospital filed for bankruptcy. Although a new group of doctors purchased the hospital at auction, they were unable to find long-term success. The hospital closed for good on October 31, 2008.
A Chance Meeting with Dr. Robert Carraway
As soon as I heard that demolition had begun on the old Carraway Hospital, I grabbed my camera and rushed over to the site—but I wasn’t the only one.
Dr. Robert Carraway—grandson of Dr. Charles Carraway—and his friend & caretaker Jimmy Davis had beaten me to the site. After taking a few photos of the duo in front of the hospital, Dr. Carraway shared his insight on the history of the hospital.
I was asked one day, ‘Dr. Carraway, how can you tell a Carraway nurse?’ And I said, ‘They know what they’re doing!’ The Norwood Clinic that my granddad started in 1908 grew to a force of 101 doctors at one time, with a state-of-the-art trauma center, a groundbreaking helicopter lifesaver program and more. There is a lot of history here—My grandfather, Dr. Charles Newton Carraway, was ahead of his time in many ways.”Dr. Robert Carraway
According to a press release from Corporate Realty Development, Carraway Hospital’s iconic blue star will be refurbished and remain on the site.