Roebuck-Hawkins Park

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Don A. Hawkins Recreational Center, February 2011

Roebuck-Hawkins Park (also known as Don A. Hawkins Park and Roebuck Municipal Golf Course) is a Birmingham city park located at 8920 Roebuck Boulevard. Between the park and the golf course lies the 194-acre Alabama Youth Services Vacca Campus, founded in the early 20th century as the Alabama Industrial School for Boys and currently housing juvenile offenders and students with low academic functioning.

On April 8, 2006 an F1 tornado touched down in the park and downed numerous trees along a 3.2 mile eastward track.

Facilities

The Roebuck Municipal Golf Course is an 18-hole public course which occupies the western end of the combined park. The course was designed by British architect Herbert Barker and constructed for the Roebuck Springs Country Club in 1911. Hall of Fame golfer Bobby Jones won his first tournament there at age 13 in 1915. The 6,509-yard course hosted the 1917 and 1923 Southern Golf Association Tournaments. The private club did not survive the 1929 stock market crash and was bought by the city of Birmingham in 1930. Well-loved Scotsman Bob Andrews remained as the course professional and managed the property for the city.

The park has a two-story Don A. Hawkins Recreational Center as well as a clubhouse. Athletic fields have been constructed on the northeast end of the park.

The Celebration Center, a Christian congregation founded in 2008, meets at the recreation center.

Roebuck Spring

Main article: Roebuck Spring

A small pond, approximately 150 feet wide by 450 feet long, was created around 1900 by damming Roebuck Spring with a soil and fieldstone berm. A spring house was also constructed of fieldstone and decorated with a small water wheel. The building housed pumping equipment to supply the Industrial School with water.

The pond, with its wooded banks, supported a variety of wildlife and became one of four known habitats of the endangered watercress darter. The pond was drained in September 2008 by order of park director Regina Nummy, killing thousands of darters and triggering an investigation by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Alabama Department of Conservation. Authorities issued an emergency permit to carefully restore the pond habitat. The Freshwater Land Trust expanded on that emergency project with a larger habitat restoration project, which was completed in 2018.

References

  • Brown, Virginia Pounds (1984) Grand Old Days of Birmingham Golf: 1898 - 1930. Birmingham: Beechwood Books. ISBN 0912221011
  • Bouma, Katherine (September 23, 2008) "Dam removal kills more than 1,000 endangered fish at Roebuck Springs." The Birmingham News
  • Wilson, Glynn (September 23, 2008) "At Least 1,000 Endangered Watercress Darters Killed" The Locust Fork Journal
  • Bouma, Katherine (September 24, 2008) "U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service orders endangered watercress darter pond restored in Birmingham." The Birmingham News
  • Bouma, Katherine (September 24, 2008) "New plan to restore endangered watercress darter habitat in Roebuck Springs." The Birmingham News
  • Goodman, Joseph (March 19, 2017) "Birmingham golf course beaver kill a dystopian Caddyshack." The Birmingham News