Birmingham History Part 17. Ghosts of the Past, The Ensley Works Today

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grande man

Bonafied Grande Nut
Hi everyone. For those that might remember this thread, http://www.modelrailroadforums.com/forum/showthread.php?t=5195&highlight=ensley, I'd like to share a few photos I took today at the historic Ensley Works. The overcast conditions seemed to magnify the experience I got of the industrial ghosts remaining at Ensley.

For anyone that might live in the Birmingham area and consider going to the site, be advised that there are several vertical shafts (about man sized) on the property. They aren't marked and the Kudzo will soon cover them... It's also in a rough section of town. :eek:

The photos tell the story...














 
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IronBeltKen

Lazy Daydreamer
Fantastic pix Eric!:cool: That mixer looks like it's smiling <LOL>

You're right about warning people about the area. Somebody on the Yahoo Steel list mentioned that a number of people, including two police officers, were shot to death in this area.
 

grande man

Bonafied Grande Nut
Glad you like the pics Ken. Here's a few more...

BTW, I heard a rumor that the rest of the site was tagged for demolition, that's why I went today to get some pics.





 
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rhoward

S.L.O.&W. Trainman
Great stuff, as usual, Eric. It is good that someone is getting some last photos of the place before it is gone. (I gotta get down to the outlet trail and get some shots of what's left of the mills that used be there. Maybe some time in the next couple of weeks.)
 

jbaakko

Diesel Detail Freak
Looking at that steel, I'd assume it is tagged for demolition. Thanks for taking pics!
 

sushob

Entrepreneurial Teen
We want more! We want more!

Great shots, as always. Looks like you're getting along just fine with that new camera :)
 

grande man

Bonafied Grande Nut
We want more! We want more!

Great shots, as always. Looks like you're getting along just fine with that new camera :)
Be careful what you wish for Nate. :D

Some fellow history fanatics and I are planning to photo document many Red Mountain sites next winter...
 

sushob

Entrepreneurial Teen
Be careful what you wish for Nate. :D
I have broadband...bring on the photos :D

Some fellow history fanatics and I are planning to photo document many Red Mountain sites next winter...
You mean we have to wait that long!? It's been snowing here for the past couple of days...as far as I'm concerned, it already is next winter. :)

Looking forward to future history lessons, Grande Man style...
 

grande man

Bonafied Grande Nut
Thanks for the interest Nate.

Here's a few Alco Cab shots.







And one from one from the open hearths.
 

Cjcrescent

Master Mechanic
Grandeman;

Great pix, as always!

I have always wanted to go and try to get pix of that old Alco. When going up toward Birmingport fishing, you can see that loco from the bridge on Al.269. I wasn't even aware there was also an old center cab there.:)

The only thing that kept me from doing just that, is the current reputation of the area for crime. I didn't want to take the risk! :eek:

The sad part is that this area used to be famous for its music. If you've ever heard of Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Tommy Dorsey etc, they all played at the theatre in Ensley. In fact, the Duke's, (either its his or Basie's) song "Tuxedo Junction" was written as praise for Ensley and its theatre. There is at least a movement to fully restore the theatre where all these greats played and to try to return music/plays etc, to this famous area.
 

grande man

Bonafied Grande Nut
CJ, I talked with a business owner in the immediate area yesterday. He told me there is a push to clean the area up. The old projects (subsidized crack houses) have been leveled. That's a good start. As you know, there were two high profile incidents where police were gunned down in the last few years. I'm pretty sure that's what got the ball rolling for the politicians to finally do something...

Ensley is an important part of the areas history. It's a shame it was allowed to become such a run down slum. Maybe the clean up will continue.

BTW, that Alco has been calling me to come and visit for a long time. ;)
 

grande man

Bonafied Grande Nut
Wonder what it would take to restore that old ALCo ?
Nothing but money and time. :D Seriously, Paul, I'm not sure it could even be done. It's been out in the weather a looooong time.

As a side note, I hope most of ya'll are using the old CRT monitors. I still use one at home (and photo edit with it) and the pics look much better there than they do on the flat panel displays at work. :confused:
 

Steve B

Firefighter
Fantastic work Eric, the picture of all the chimneys is awesome, like a monument to past and better times
 

GatorDave

Railroading Fan~Gator Fan
As a side note, I hope most of ya'll are using the old CRT monitors. I still use one at home (and photo edit with it) and the pics look much better there than they do on the flat panel displays at work. :confused:
They must look super-duper good on the CRT 'cause they look pretty darn good on this flat panel!

It's nice to see that the history has survived even if it is a little "weathered". Most of the old railroad history around here was shipping related (docks and piers and such) and has long been demolished and replaced. I have some old pictures I found of Pensacola back in the early twentieth century. In the photos I can see where things were and I can still see traces today. The old pilings from a coal pier that extended about a quarter of a mile into Pensacola Bay are still visible today.

Keep the great photos coming... I love historic sites. Dave
 




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