Edgewood Park

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Edgewood Park was a recreational resort established in 1912 by the Edgewood Highlands Land Company. It was first operated by the Edgewood Country Club, which erected a clubhouse, and then bought in 1914 by the Birmingham Motor and Country Club.

In 1912, the Birmingham & Edgewood Electric Railway streetcar line was extended to the park.

In 1915, Edgewood Lake was created as the park's centerpiece by damming Shades Creek at Columbiana Road. Lakeshore Drive and South Lakeshore Drive were graded and the lake was stocked with sport fish.

In the 1920's, the clubhouse was operated as a business by Grapico bottler Raymond Rochelle, and the park became a popular site for weekend recreation as well as for large gatherings. The Birmingham Elk's Lodge held their Labor Day celebration here, and the Ku Klux Klan initiated hundreds, including Hugo Black, at a huge rally on September 11, 1923 which started with parades in downtown Birmingham and ended with dancing, fireworks, an aerial display by Glenn Messer, and a huge barbecue on the shore of the then-dry lake bed at Edgewood Park.

In 1924 the park's summer season began on May 22 with dancing to the sounds of the Pennsylvania Serenaders. The redecorated dance hall, dubbed "Dreamland", was managed by Jack McLain and featured the "Dreamland Ramblers" as its regular nightly band. Another new feature was the paving on the roadway leading to the clubhouse.

The clubhouse, having been vacant for several years, was demolished by its owners, the Investor's Syndicate of Minneapolis, Minnesota, in 1938. In the 1940s the property, which had been deeded to Jefferson County, was turned over in part to Howard College, which relocated to the area in 1957.

The woods around the former lake bed and creek banks remained popular with hunters and fishermen, often in defiance of the law, well into the 1960s when development overtook the area.

References

  • "Edgewood Park has Gala Opening Tonight" (May 22, 1924) In Birmingham This Week, Vol. 3, No. 4, p. 7
  • Summe, Sheryl Spradling. (2001) Homewood: The Life of a City. Homewood: Friends of the Homewood Public Library.