ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Railroad Park: The New Heart of Birmingham

Updated on June 8, 2014

Building a new community

Birmingham, Alabama has long needed a true public space downtown - space for people to meet and talk, celebrate and play, stroll and contemplate. Railroad Park is a new community heart for us. After many years of grieving for lost architectural splendor, we again have a vast work of art at the center of town.

On any sunny day, you can see picnickers and joggers on the broad meadows and wide paths. A few steps takes you out of the crowd onto shady winding trails beside a stony brook, or an herbal walk lined with rosemary bushes, or intimate nooks with benches and trees.

So many features blend together into a harmonious whole: the native plantings, the lake that feeds into a bio-filtration system, the playgrounds, the paths and walls made of repurposed wood and brick, the rain curtain and water lilies and little bridges and more delightful details than I can remember.

Railroad Park doesn't feel like Birmingham, that stuffy overgrown industrial town with a sad past and a doubtful future. The stodgy old buildings, seen across trees and water, are suddenly beautiful. The plaza holds a group of exercisers, the meadow hosts an impromptu ball game, children are shouting in the playground, folks are sitting on isolated benches or meeting on the walking trail...

It doesn't feel like Birmingham anymore. Or else Birmingham feels new.

[Photos by Valerie Proctor Davis and Charlotte R. Proctor]

Alabama Wildflowers - Native plants and grasses in Railroad Park

Click thumbnail to view full-size

Yesterday and Today - A new look for an old town

Birmingham Then and Now (Then & Now Thunder Bay)
Birmingham Then and Now (Then & Now Thunder Bay)

Explore the beauties of Birmingham's past and present.

 

Quiet Reflections

Some days we just sit on the stone wall by the lake, watching ripples in the water.

Scent of Water

Click thumbnail to view full-size

Friends and Fun

The green meadows fill with people for concerts and events.

Green Spaces

Click thumbnail to view full-size

Roar of Trains

Trains still run through downtown, just a few yards from the elevated walking path.

Playtime

Click thumbnail to view full-size

Path to the Past

Sections of the paths are made of old railway ties and bricks recovered from the site.

Map and Directions

A
Railroad Park:
1600 1st Avenue South, Birmingham, AL 35233

get directions

Find More About Birmingham

Have you visited Railroad Park?

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • wildbluefrontier profile image

      Nathan M 

      4 years ago from Tucson

      Looks like a neat place to visit. i like that they put some of the old railroad ties and other items to use.

    • profile image

      Scott A McCray 

      5 years ago

      I've never been, but I'd like to visit after seeing your photos! Thumbs up on a very nice lens!

    • profile image

      ConvenientCalendar 

      5 years ago

      I have friends that have and enjoyed it!

    • MarcStorm LM profile image

      MarcStorm LM 

      5 years ago

      I really enjoyed your writing! It's nice to see that the world is starting to renew their cities...finally getting rid of eye sores and just cleaning everything up, with hopefully, keeping nature in mind. The world is working it's way towards the right path - it's slow going but I think future generations will hopefully get there...if the damage isn't too irreversible. Great lens! I really appreciate your writing style and the way it all flows beautifully!

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      5 years ago

      I have taken grandchildren to RR Park many times, when it was newly opened and the native plantings were newly in the ground, and this spring with my daughter, where we found the switch grass fully thickened . The herb walkway has turned into a rosemary lane, as the vigorous, woody plant has subdued the more delicate thyme and oregano.

      It's a lovely place to relax, to enjoy their annual Symphony in the Park, with what seems like thousands of residents of Southside, city. Loft dwellers, and multitudes like us who drove in from surrounding neighborhoods. We are all comfortably seated on our towels or folding chairs in the grassy bowl facing the Symphony Orchestra and the setting sun. Our senses are filled with the smell of grass, the warmth is the summer sun and coolness of our iced tea tea and the sound of beautiful music.

      When the freight trains rumble by in the distance, and you notice bikers silhouetted on the raised trail... well, that's just the icing on the cake.

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      5 years ago

      I have never been there, but I really enjoyed your pictures.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)