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Historic Highland Avenue

Exploring an iconic Birmingham street

Urban explorers often have to dig deep to document the forgotten past of historic neighborhoods.  That’s exactly what the Birmingham Historical Society’s Marjorie White and historian buff and neighbor Randy Merritt do in exploring one of Birmingham’s oldest neighborhoods.

Highland Avenue winds past three parks at the base of Red Mountain and, when completed in 1875, was the widest boulevard in the South. It was connected via street car to the bustling industrial downtown area only three miles away and was lined with the mansions of Birmingham’s finest who sought cleaner air with tree-lined streets and lush green spaces.  While less than fifteen of these mansions remain today, their varied architectural styles and well-maintained parks suggest what life was like before economic conditions and newer over-the-mountain developments dramatically changed the neighborhood.

The Great Depression of the 1930s forced some residents to divide their mansions into apartments and others to flee, leading to a significant downturn in the neighborhood until the 1970s.  Led by new city-financed landscaping along the boulevard, along with park maintenance and the growth of nearby UAB, a resurgence in interest in the area led to the restoration of historic homes and condominium conversions.  Today, Highland Park is a diverse historic district consisting of five areas, all listed in the National Register of Historic Places:  Milner, Hanover, Rhodes, Chestnut Hill, and Country Club districts.

Birmingham Historical Society located its offices on Highland Avenue in 2023. In cooperation with Randy Merritt, who lived in a historic house nearby, they began collecting photographs of all the homes along the boulevard and family histories of those who once lived there. By collecting these photographs, they explored the neighborhood's architectural history and told the story of Birmingham’s earliest days. 

Urban exploration, history exploration, architectural exploration, cultural exploration, and the stories of the people who made significant contributions all come together when uncovering the stories of the past. Since its inception in 1942, the Birmingham Historical Society has been at the forefront of this comprehensive exploration. With over 70 publications, they have painstakingly documented and shared Birmingham's rich history, including Highland Avenue's significant role. 

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Highland Avenue Houses in 2024

Embark on a fascinating journey through Highland Avenue, where each house holds a unique story. Below, discover the original owners, notable residents, and current usage of these historically significant homes.

2028 Hassinger House (1898)
Industrialist William H. Hassinger
Now Hassinger-Daniels Mansion, a bed and breakfast

2154 Bradshaw House (1892)
Lawyer Caldwell Bradshaw;
“Bachelors’ House” P. G. Shook, A. M. Linn, Culpepper Exum and Erskine Ramsay (1906)
Now law offices

2220 London House (1894)
Attorney Alexander T. London
Now Galley & Garden

2326 Jaffee House (1911)
Jewelry company owner Julius Jaffee
Now law offices

2330 Yielding House (1911)
Hood, Yielding & Co. owner William J. Yielding
Now law offices

The Three (Evans) Sisters Houses: Ella Harris, Della Enslen, and Gippie Warner

2731 Harris House (1905)
Wallpaper, paint, and decorating business owner George W. Harris

2733 Warner House (1905)
Confectionary owner Robert S. Warner

2737 Enslen House (1905)
Bank president and realtor Eugene F. Enslen, Sr.
Now law offices

2800 Burnett-Morrow House (1910)
Distributor of cigars, R. D. Burnett;
Attorney and president of Sloss Furnaces, Hugh Morrow, Jr.
Now a single-family residence

2809 Wood House (1908)
Insurance company president W. D. Wood
Now apartments

2831 Steward-Miller House (1890)
Mill operator and real estate investor Wesley C. Steward;
Attorney and politician Nathan Miller
Now a single-family residence
**house moved to 2824 11th Avenue South in 1906

2834 Jordan House (1905)
Widow of physician Mortimer Jordan, Mrs. Florence Mudd Jordan
Now a single-family residence

2838 Donnelly House (1906)
Philanthropist and father of the Birmingham library system, James Donnelly
Now an event venue

2848 Thompson House (1906)
Real estate developer S. E. Thompson
Now apartments

2906 Nabers House (1908)
Banker and investor Zach Nabers
Now apartments

2908 Brown House (1911)
Goodall-Brown mercantile owner William S. Brown;
Alabama Federation of Women's Club (1947-1980)
Now Clubhouse on Highland

2931 Colby House (1924)
Colby Decorating owner Willis S. Colby

3053 Loeb House (1913)
Owner of Loveman, Joseph & Loeb Department Store, now McWane Science Center
Now apartments

3065 Schwab House (1918)
Jonas Schwab
Now a single-family residence