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Birmingham addressing explained
It is important to note that the City of Birmingham is comprised of several neighborhoods which were all annexed at some point, some were their own cities prior to the great annexation of 1910, some were simply unincorporated until they decided to annex either by their own choosing or by choosing to do so when given the option by Richard Arrington, Jr.. The purpose of this potential article is to help explain what those events mean in your travels around the city.
For the most part, the city is divided into several sections. Originally, these were: *North *South *East *Southwest
These were divided very simply- a horizontal line was drawn along the Great Southern Railroad, and a vertical line along Center Street. After the annexations, most were simply added into their respective "quadrants", if you will. However, some others received their own designations. *Ensley, Central Park, Green Acres, and the area now known as Five Points West all have numbered streets, places, and ways appended with "ENS" or sometimes "Ens." The lettered avenues, courts, and terraces, however, stand on their own. *Pratt City seems to follow the same pattern as Ensley, however, this area does not have numbered streets, it however has numbered avenues appended with "Pratt", and lettered avenues that seem to correspond or continue with those in Ensley. *Wylam has streets named after U.S. cities, and numbered avenues appended with "WYL" on most street signage, however, some signage, as well as the U.S. Postal Service standardized address system simply use 'Wylam". *East Thomas has addresses that are appended with "Thomas", although in recent years this has started to disappear from both signage and addressing.
It seems as though the city decided to keep these special cases to the western side of the city, as I have never seen a case like this on the eastern or southern sides.
Addressing and directions can easily be remembered by remembering this information regarding most of the city. *Avenues have courts and terraces. *Streets have places and ways.
This does not, however, seem to stand up in an area near Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport, as some streets seem to have been named like "65th Place Way".
*In most of the city, even in areas that were annexed, you may find on street corners, formed into the concrete (Or specially made concrete blocks in some parts of Woodlawn) the name of the street you are facing. However, some places have seen the street name change, for instance, on the northeastern corner of Georgia Road and Antwerp Avenue, the sidewalk reads "66th St N". And in Fair Park, along Bessemer Road, at the intersection of Fayette Avenue, the side facing Bessemer Road reads "Bessemer Boulevard". *Some of these sidewalk markings are different, and sometimes hard to make out. There are some instances where a "2" is distinctly shaped more like a backwards "S".
Carraway Blue Star
The Carraway blue star is considered the symbol of the former Carraway Hospital and health system. Three stars existed:
- The star atop the Goodson Building at Carraway Hospital, lighted, rotating. This star is still standing, although not operational with the building vacant. ((I have on occasion, since the hospital's closing, and most of the lights being turned off, seen the star on, but not rotating, only to see it off again two or three nights later.)) This is the star most associated with the hospital and affiliates, usually seen also used as a logo, in tilework in the hallways of both Carraway Hospital and UAB Medical West Medical Center, and on signage for both hospitals' many affiliated clinics.
- The star atop UAB Medical West Medical Center, fixed, lighted, taken down when the hospital was sold to UAB
- Talladega Superspeedway had a star atop a pole at the infield care center, when it was operated by Carraway Hospital. The pole currently holds a Brookwood Medical Center sign.
One of the two dismounted signs is in the hangar at Alabama Lifesaver Birmingham Headquarters across from the former Emergency Department at Carraway Hospital, although it is unclear which of the two it is.