Roebuck Springs subdivision
The subdivision was created on land granted in 1825 to pioneer farmer Audly Hamilton. His property, located in Jones Valley and on the northern slope of Red Mountain. The property adjoined Georgia Road, which approached through Sadler's Gap, and Blountsville Road (now 4th Avenue South). The grant was passed down through the Wilson family and, by the turn of the 20th century the 200-acre parcel was known as the "Hood-Brown Property"
The East Lake Land Company partnered with the Roebuck Auto and Golf Club in 1909 to purchase the land and finance the development of a companion residential neighborhood for the newly-opened golf course. Robert Jemison Jr, son of one of the partners in the East Lake Land Company, was commissioned to plan the project, along with its companion, the smaller Roebuck Terrace subdivision.
Jemison, inspired by contemporary automobile suburbs, planned the neighborhood with narrow, curving roads and estate-size lots. The planners made liberal use of terraces held up by fieldstone walls to shape the land. A variety of homes in the Craftsman, English Arts & Crafts and Tudor Revival styles were constructed. Many of the new residences were large, but some, intended as summer cottages, were rather modest in size. Architect S. Scott Joy and his brothers, Tedd and Tom, participated in the design and construction of many of those first estates. Wilson's Spring was impounded south of Valley Lake Drive to create a small reservoir to provide piped water to those homes. The neighborhood's homes were connected to the Birmingham Water Works in 1923, but the reservoir remained in use as a popular neighborhood swimming hole.
Additional sections of the neighborhood were platted in 1926 by the Roebuck Springs Land Company. Many of these homes were designed in the then-popular Colonial Revival style. Some newly-opened streets, such as Ridge Top Circle and Rutherford Circle remained unimproved during the Great Depression and World War II years.
The Post-war years saw rapid development surrounding Roebuck Springs, with the sprawling Roebuck Plaza Shopping Center and the development of Roebuck Parkway. In some cases large lots were redivided. New residential construction in the historic subdivision was typically more compact and introduced more stripped-down, functional styles of architecture. Later construction, in the 1950s and 1960s, brought split-level and ranch style houses into the area.
The construction of Interstate 59 through Roebuck in the late 1960s required the demolition of numerous historic houses on Old Blountsville Road and separated the residential neighborhood from the golf course by cutting across Roebuck Street (89th Street South).
- Hearn, Mildred (1984) "Roebuck Springs: Legacies from the Crossroads. Birmingham: Roebuck Springs Garden Club
- Hearn, Mildred (1993) "Recollections, Reminiscences...and More Legacies from the Crossroads. Birmingham: Roebuck Springs Garden Club
- Messick, Denise P. & Trina Binkley (June 1998) "Roebuck Springs Historic District" National Register of Historic Places nomination form, based on earlier documentation and a draft NRHP nomination by Marjorie Longenecker White of the Birmingham Historical Society ("Historic Resources of Roebuck, 1987")
- Ruisi, Anne (April 5, 2010) "Birmingham's Roebuck Springs neighborhood turning 100." The Birmingham News