Several less-well-known places in Central Alabama are worth exploring. Many of them are related to the industries that once fueled the area’s economy, but they have since become historic landmarks. Some are conveniently located within driving distance of the city of Birmingham. Others, a little more removed, require a light outdoor hike. In this article, Jennifer Miree Cope shares some of her most beloved Central Alabama locations.
Vulcan Park and Museum
Vulcan Park is named for its giant cast-iron statue of the Roman god Vulcan. This statue was originally erected for the 1904 World’s Fair. The 50-ton statue alone is worth a trip to Vulcan Park, but visitors can enjoy a tour of the grounds, soak up some culture in the comprehensive history museum, or wander through the public park at their leisure.
Jennifer Miree Cope considers Vulcan Park a must-do for first-time visitors to Birmingham.
The Alabama Barn Quilt Trail
The Alabama Barn Quilt Trail is not a historical site, but it is a great way to enjoy some of the agricultural tourism available in Alabama and the traditional art of quilting.
The trail, highlighted by colorful painted wooden quilt squares, will take you off the beaten path. Taking a tour of the Alabama Barn Quilt Trail is not only fun but also benefits the local economy and helps to preserve historic barns.
Sloss Furnaces was built post–Civil War to make use of some of the Birmingham area’s natural resources, especially iron ore. Visitors can explore the site on their own or take a free guided tour of the ancient stacks and towers of metal.
A National Historic Landmark, Sloss Furnaces also hosts several events throughout the year, including metalworking workshops, a music festival called “Sloss Fest,” and scary ghost and zombie events that materialize during the Halloween season.
Edmund Pettus Bridge
Located approximately 90 miles from Birmingham in Selma, the Edmund Pettus Bridge is an important historic landmark that symbolizes the fight for civil rights. It was named a National Historic Landmark in 2013.
In 1965, the bridge was the site of a civil rights march known as “Bloody Sunday.” The aftermath of this march was a turning point for the civil rights movement in America. Photos and videos of police attacks on protestors led to widespread support for the movement.
Rickwood Field in Birmingham isn’t just for baseball enthusiasts; it’s a place for all lovers of history and Americana. As America’s oldest baseball park, it was once home to the Birmingham Barons.
The field was recently refurbished and is now a frequent host of public and private events. Visitors are welcome to immerse themselves in the glory days of baseball.
About Jennifer Miree Cope
Jennifer Miree Cope volunteers for several charities supported by the Independent Presbyterian Church in Birmingham, Alabama. Her closest associates describe her as organized and passionate about giving back to her community.
She is well-known throughout the Birmingham area as a talented landscape designer, a dedicated wife and mother, and a hiking enthusiast.