Ever since I moved to the Magic City one year ago, there’s been one recurring wish I have for Birmingham and its many unique communities. I long for an architectural renaissance. As I walk/pedal/drive past these glorious old buildings that sit vacant and dark in their downtown dwelling and beyond, I quietly imagine what these structures must have been like in their prime and just what they could be today. I say it over and over again - my newcomer eyes have two filters: One filter sees the beauty these buildings bestowed so many years ago (and still). The other recognizes what smart development and renewal might look like. Both are tremendously hopeful. There are treasures all over Jones Valley…just waiting…
Some time ago I read that renewing the spirit (or magic) starts from within. And in a city like Birmingham, giving new life to the cornerstones of our history is a good place to start…in my opinion, at least.
What a joy it was to visit the recently renovated Woodrow Hall a few weeks back. Developer Andrew Morrow and his father Tom offered me a tour of this historic building that was once called the Woodlawn Masonic Temple and was home to the Woodlawn Fraternal Lodge No. 525. Built in 1914 and located in the heart of the Woodlawn community, this three-story building has been beautifully restored. The shag carpeting has been ripped away to reveal gleaming original floors. The low ceiling was knocked out and the impressive windows overlooking 1st Avenue North welcome you right in. This historic building, once a meeting place for the masons (and sometimes the klan), now provides a spectacular venue that hosts weddings and other special events. Desert Island Supply Co. is also headquartered in the building, as well as a few professional offices.
To read more about the acquisition and redevelopment of the building itself, jump here to a late 2009 article by The News.
To enjoy the interior of this lovely place, have a look at the slideshow below.
A big thanks to Tom and Andrew for showing me around and I encourage all of you to find a reason to visit Woodrow Hall. It is a great sign of the potential that rests not only in our historic structures, but also in communities like Woodlawn.