Norwood Boulevard is a 1.5 mile long residential boulevard which was constructed in Norwood from 1910 to 1914 by the Birmingham Realty Company. Including the home sites and the 200-foot wide right of way, the development covers 200 acres. The wide central median was landscaped with trees and hedges and included trackage for the Norwood Streetcar Line.
The boulevard begins at 15th Avenue North as an extension of 28th Street North near Carraway Boulevard. It proceeds northward past 16th Avenue North before curving to the east and then south to Norwood Park. It turns back to the northeast at 32nd Street North and ends at Vandebilt Road near I-20/59.
The neighborhood began a slow, steady decline in the 1920s and continuing more rapidly after World War II as automobile ownership made it possible for residents to move further away from the city. The developers of Mountain Brook and other "Over the Mountain" suburbs advertised sites free from the smoke and haze of the city. Social insecurity in the wake of school integration spurred white flight from Birmingham. In 1968 the construction of I-20/59 through downtown severed Norwood from downtown, furthering its decline.
In 1987 Greinar, Vare & Partners was contracted to draw up a master plan and plans for implementation a redevelopment of the landscaped median.
In 2006 students from the Auburn University Urban Studio met with the Norwood Neighborhood Association and created a long-range comprehensive physical plan for the area, calling for celebration of the boulevard's unique character.
A Norwood Resource Center was established in the Robert Nygren residence to assist homeowners with restoring and maintaining the neighborhood's historic architecture. The center also offers internet access, health and financial counseling and other programs for residents.
- Kemp, Kathy (January 29, 2006) "Reviving grandeur: Once-elegant northside neighborhood attracts renovating newcomers." Birmingham News
- Kemp, Kathy (September 9, 2007) "Old houses, new hope in Norwood." Birmingham News
- Historic Norwood website