Baconsides

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Baconsides was an early district north of 2nd Avenue North between 11th and 14th Street North in Birmingham, which housed many poor African-Americans and which was particularly hard hit by the 1873 cholera epidemic which ravaged the young town.

The area was bounded to the south by a low, marshy ravine fed by a stream that flowed west across Birmingham from a pond between 3rd and 4th Avenue North and 24th and 25th Streets (the present site of the Birmingham Post Office). It crossed under 20th Street in a culvert before joining two other branches coming from Southside and spreading into an overgrown marsh.

According to the 1874 report of Mortimer Jordan Jr, Baconsides was a cluster of "shanties and negro cabins, low, dirty, and ill ventilated" which were built upon a small hill north of the marsh. He attested that rainfall would wash filth from the houses into the adjacent basin, from which many residents in town sunk barrels to obtain drinking water. According to his estimation, every house in that district was visited by fatality from cholera during the 1873 epidemic.

References

  • Jordan, M. H. (1875) Cholera at Birmingham Alabama in 1873. The Narrative of the 1873 Cholera Epidemic. Washington D.C.: Government Printing Office