Edgewood Park

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C. 1915 advertisement for Edgewood Park

Edgewood Park was a recreational resort established in 1912 by the Edgewood Highlands Land Company.

The park area was made accessible from the newly-constructed Birmingham & Edgewood Electric Railway. The grounds were initially operated by the Edgewood Country Club, which erected a clubhouse on the site in anticipation of the damming of Shades Creek at Columbiana Road to form an artificial lake. In 1914 they sold the property to the Birmingham Motor & Country Club, which planned an auto racing course around the perimeter of the anticipated lake. The present Lakeshore Drive and South Lakeshore Drive were graded as part of that course.

By the time the dam was completed in 1915 the attraction was being operated by Hugh Hill's Hilllco Amusement Enterprise. The lake was stocked with sport fish.

In the 1920s, 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. Mamie Smith's Jazz Hounds played a "Big Midnight Frolic" in the clubhouse on December 23, 1921, with the Norfolk Jazz Quartet opening the show. 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.


  • "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.