Jazz, Blues & Nightlife in Birmingham’s Tuxedo Junction

The Bama Street Collegians led by Erskine Hawkins got their start performing at Tuxedo Junction before hitting it big in New York City. Photo courtesy of Birmingham Public Library.

The Magic City is home to countless cultural influences that contribute to our city’s vibrant culture. In the 1920s and 1930s, Tuxedo Junction stood within the Ensley neighborhood. Its dance halls brimmed with the latest jazz music and dances—including the Jive Dance which originated there.

By night it was the heart of the black community’s social paradise, and it will always be immortalized by Erskine Hawkins’ famous jazz tune “Tuxedo Junction”.

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Ensley’s Ramsay-McCormack building will be demolished and redeveloped

A proposed rendering of the successor to the Ramsay McCormack building. Rendering via City of Birmingham

After extensive inspections, the City of Birmingham has deemed the Ramsay McCormack building unsafe for renovation—meaning that the 91-year-old structure will be torn down. However, the plan is to replace the structure with a four-story state-of-the-art building. Learn more.

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5 things you need to know about Cotton’s in Ensley, including Heritage Coffee (PHOTOS)

Cotton's building entrepreneurs
Josh Brenneman, Treś Washington and Donnetta Washington at Heritage Coffee. Isn’t Treś’ sweater fabulous? Photo via Sharron Swain for Bham Now

On a rainy Thursday in Birmingham, I went over to Ensley to check out Heritage Coffee, in the old Cotton’s building, and was so glad I did. Keep reading to find out more about all the action that’s happening at Cotton’s these days, and why you should stop by and check it out.

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See how Ensley is prime for a resurgence with a coffee shop and new space aptly named “Believe”

Left to right, Jeanisha Whetstone, Troy Whetstone of Modern House Coffee and Brian K. Rice at the downtown Ensley pop-up event on July 20, 2019. Photo by Pat Byington for Bham Now

Birmingham’s Ensley Historic Business District is prime for a resurgence.

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

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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.

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Former Ensley High School severely damaged by morning fire

Ensley High School fire
Former Ensley High School built in 1908 caught fire this morning, July 17, 2018. Approximately 50 Birmingham firefighters fought the fire. Photo by Pat Byington for Bham Now.

The former Ensley High School,  located at 2301 Avenue J in Ensley, was severely damaged when it caught fire this morning. According to various news reports approximately 50 city of Birmingham firefighters fought the fire.

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Followup: CrossPlex Village isn’t all fun and games

Jefferson County Millennial Democrats’ Facebook profile banner

Yesterday morning, I wrote about the City Council’s approval of a proposed CrossPlex Village near Five Points West.

Yesterday afternoon, I was able to get in contact with the most visible voice of dissent: the Jefferson County Millennial Democrats.

Speaking with their treasurer, Emma Colburn, I was able to get a more in-depth analysis of why they object to the development approval.

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Update: Plans to establish a Public Safety Complex in Ensley look Promising

In December of 2016, the Ramsay McCormack building in Ensley was slated to be demolished.  After lawsuits and debate, a plan to renovate and utilize the building was announced.  The plan calls for a $40 million project to relocate the municipal court, police and fire headquarters to Ensley.  Now the city is seeking bids, by February 10th, for the renovation work.

Ensley Building
the Ramsay McCormack building stands tall on Ave. E and 19th Street North. Photo by Frank Couch

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Big news for downtown Ensley – revitalization is on its way

Photo Credit: Bhamwiki.com
Photo Credit: Bhamwiki.com

Some great news for downtown Ensley.

Yesterday, Mayor William Bell unveiled a $40 Million Public Safety Municipal Complex planned for downtown Ensley.  According to the Mayor’s office, the plan would create the first ever Public Safety Municipal Complex for the City of Birmingham pulling Municipal Court,  Birmingham Police Department Administration and the Birmingham Fire and Rescue Department Administration to one location. The plan will involve public and private funding.

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