Mortimer Jordan Park

From Bhamwiki
(Redirected from Behren's Park)
Jump to: navigation, search

Mortimer Jordan Park, originally Behrens' Park, was a 5-acre public park located at 840 12th Street South.

The park was created shortly after Henry Behrens bought a 20-acre farm from the Elyton Land Company for $1,000 in 1876. He reserved the 5-acre parcel for recreation and subdivided the remaining land into small residential lots. After construction of the Union Station in 1887, Behrens arranged with the managers of the adjoining Metropolitan Hotel to refer newly-arrived workingmen's families to him. Horse car service to the park was available at the corner of 20th Street and 2nd Avenue North.

Many of the families that bought plots from Behrens were European immigrants. Initially Germans predominated, but later Greeks, Syrians and Italians began arriving, giving the area an unusual cultural diversity. All of them enjoyed spending weekends in the park, which by the 1880s featured a bowling lawn, picnic tables, several beds of flowers, and an encircling drainage ditch fed by springs which was used for swimming and baptisms. A bandstand was put into frequent use for community dances. The park also had space for a baseball diamond, which saw regular use from the earliest days of the game.

In 1924 the park was dedicated in the memory of World War I hero Mortimer Jordan. Mrs Charles Sharp of the Daughters of the American Revolution presided at the dedication of a tree in Jordan's memory.

The park was enlarged and its ball field and tennis courts were regraded by the Civil Works Administration in 193334. Other work included clearing deadwood, trimming trees and relocating a pair of drinking fountains. Despite their efforts, a tree remained in-play in the field, helping Dickey Martin record an unassisted triple play while playing in the Birmingham Industrial League in 1939.

On August 4, 1949 a massive pageant was staged at Jordan Park under the direction of park supervisor Roberta Henderson. More than 2,500 gathered to watch the spectacle, in which a cast of 500 children portrayed the history of the area from before white settlement to the bustling mix of cultures sharing the park in the early 20th century. At the conclusion of the program, Mrs Sharp returned to dedicate a second tree in Jordan's memory.

A month later, the Jordan Park Creamery, located across 12th Street South, was shut down by the Birmingham City Commission for selling beer on Sundays.

Birmingham Fire Station No. 7 was located at 801 11th Street South, on the northwest corner of the park, in 1960.

The UAB baseball stadium opened at the former Jordan Park with a game against the Vanderbilt Commodores on February 26, 1984. The stadium was given its present name in honor of former UAB administrator Jerry Young on April 18, 1985.

References