Slossfield Community Center
The Slossfield Community Center is a complex of buildings built in the 1930s by the American Cast Iron Pipe Company with sizable public funding as an extension of their industrial health program for workers and their families. The center served African-American residents of the neighborhood.
The complex is located between 19th and 20th Streets and between 25th Avenue North and 25th Court North in the Slossfield neighborhood between North Birmingham and Acipco-Finley. The site, which formerly housed Birmingham's municipal stables, was donated in exchange for the cost of relocating the stables. It now abuts the right of way for I-65, just north of the Finley Boulevard exit.
The art-deco styled poured concrete structures were designed by E. B. Van Keuren and constructed by the Works Progress Administration between 1936 and 1939. The complex consists of several buildings, originally housing a health and maternity clinic, an education building and a recreation center.
The health clinic, which opened on July 1, 1939 and expanded in 1941 from 28 to 39 rooms, was built and staffed with assistance from the Jefferson County Board of Health, the Jefferson County Anti-Tuberculosis Assocation (through its Birmingham Health Association, a subsidiary serving the black community), the Julius Rosenwald Fund, the Alabama State Department of Health, and the Children's Bureau. Patients had to demonstrate an inability to afford private health care. The clinic provided pre-natal care and obstetrics (in clinic delivery rooms or by house call), general pediatrics, dental care, tuberculosis treatment, and venereal disease detection and treatment. The clinic's diagnostic facilities were focussed entirely on the detection of syphilis, and patients with other conditions were referred to other medical facilities. The clinic served as a training center for graduate students and also provided health education to the public. It stood out as a national example of a high-quality community health-care facility and as a key component of a publicly-funded system for preserving public health.
Programming for the education and recreation centers was provided by the National Youth Administration. Additional support came from a local "community chest" funded by area families.
- Maddux, Walter H. (October 8, 1940) "The Slossfield Health Center". Paper delivered to the American Public Health Association's 66th Annual Meeting in Detroit, Michigan. Reprinted May 1941 in the American Journal of Public Health. Vol. 31, pp. 481-6
- "For Supporting the Public Good" (May 2007) Birmingham Historical Society Newsletter. p. 4
- Nelson, Jennifer (Fall 2007) "Healthcare Reconsidered: Forging Community Wellness among African Americans in the South." Bulletin of the History of Medicine. Vol. 81, No. 3, pp. 594-624