20th Street underpass

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Ornamental design on 20th Street railroad underpass.

The 20th Street underpass is a surface connection between 20th Street North and 20th Street South running below the Railroad Reservation in downtown Birmingham.

In 1890 a group of citizens petitioned for the city to build a pedestrian bridge over the railroad tracks at 20th Street South, estimating that the cost would not exceed $5,000. That project was not approved.

The underpass, with headwalls designed in an art deco style by architect David O. Whillden, was constructed in 1931 of reinforced concrete. The year is displayed in an engraved panel flanked by gold-painted eagles in raised relief and surmounted by a floral cartouche.

A dedication ceremony was held on November 29 with W. A. Currie as master of ceremonies. Two parades set off from Five Points South and from Woodrow Wilson Park, meeting in the underpass. Four young girls cut white ribbons to permit them to pass through and Cynthia Jones broke a bottle of Buffalo Rock Ginger Ale on the west pier. Birmingham Chamber of Commerce president Darius Thomas accepted the underpass in the name of the citizens of Birmingham.