The Thomas and Pratt City Neighborhoods of Birmingham Alabama

Posted by Admin on Tuesday, April 17, 2018

The discovery of a high grade coking coal in 1879 began the industry upon which Birmingham, Alabama was born. This mineral wealth was touted far and wide by entrepreneurs such as Enoch Ensley and attracted industrial investment to Birmingham. Below he is pictured with an 11-ton lump of coal en route to the New Orleans World Exposition of 1884.

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Rental Profit - How Much Should You Make?

Posted by Admin on Friday, April 6, 2018

How much rental income should I make as an investor?  This is possibly the most asked questions that new investors ask.  The answer to that question is, there is no magic number. Every investor, every property, and every investment strategy is different.  This article contains a few guidelines to help you determine how much profit to expect from private rental properties.

 

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What Kind of Real Estate Investment is Right for You?

Posted by Admin on Tuesday, March 27, 2018

What kind of Real Estate Investment is a Good Fit for You?

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Irish Hill

Posted by Admin on Thursday, March 15, 2018



Saint Patrick's Day is right around the corner.  I thought in honor of such a fine Irish Holiday, I'd devote this post to the history of a forgotten section of our county.  Irish Hill.

In Birmingham, an industrial city from its first stirrings, immigrants formed close-knit communities, named streets for European towns and nursed Old-World traditions.  One such community is well remembered by those who grew up there.

Irish Hill in Birmingham's Pratt City neighborhood consists of a few streets on the side of a slope, not far from the former site of Pratt Mine Number One.

The streets bear melodious Irish names such as Hibernian.  The corner of Hibernian and Sheridan once held the local meeting hall for the Irish Ancient Order of the Hibernians before it was burned by the KKK in the early 1940's.  Other streets on Irish Hill carried distinctly Irish names such as Closhire, Chaucer, Meehan Trilby, and Sheridan.  There is even a Bayberry Street named appropriately after the Bayberry tree that was ever present in Ireland.  

Topping the hill is the lot once occupied by St. Catherine of Siena Catholic Church, the second parish in Jefferson County.  St. Catherine of Siena was established in 1890.   The old Saint Catherine of Siena Convent (later the Rectory) and the school still stand on that lot.  The Church was destroyed by a tornado in the early 1970's and was never rebuilt.  St. Catherine's parish was absorbed along with the parish of St. Raphael into what is now St. Patrick's in Adamsville.


Photo of the original Church built in 1890.  
It burned in 1917 and was replaced with the building pictured below


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Tags: Historic real estate

Staging/Decorating on the Cheap

Posted by Admin on Thursday, February 8, 2018

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Small Spaces Don't have to be Crowded Spaces

Small spaces are a challenge for anyone when it comes to not only decorating them but making them functional as well as pretty.  

If you're a renter, you can't really grab a sledgehammer and start knocking out walls....well...you can, but your landlord will probably not be happy.


Dining rooms seem to be the most sacrificed when builders construct houses and/or apartments.  You don't really get an actual dining room, you get a dining nook or corner.


This month's post will be full of tips and pictorials to give you a few idea's on how to make your dining area both functional and pretty.  


My very favorite thing to do in a small dining nook is banquets.  If you're wood working savvy, then go all out with it.  But, if you're not, then you can either build a simple box design or you can purchase a few benches and throw some comfy cushions on them.  


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10 Notable African Americans

Posted by Admin on Thursday, February 8, 2018

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

In honor of Black History Month, I have dedicated this month's post to honor 10 more than notable African Americans.  I purposefully avoided including entertainers, musicians, sports figures and those whose major contributions were in the civil rights area.  I feel all of the above have been lauded to the point that there are very few left who have not become familiar with them and their stories.  Rather I have chosen people who acquired their money, fame and place in history due solely to their pursuit of knowledge and a better life not only for themselves but for their fellow members of the human race.

I'm going to begin with a man who was not born in America.  He was Canadian by birth but his family moved to the US when he was a child.  His name was Elijah McCoy.

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Thoughts from an Armchair Landlord

Posted by Admin on Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Historic Terrace Court Apartments

 
Terrace Court is a landmark apartment building at the corner of Highland Avenue and 20th Street South near Five Points South. The six-story was developed by Richard Massey for $180,000 and billed as the first high-class apartment building south of Washington D. C. The original configuration included 24 apartments arranged in an H-shape around deep light-filled courts. The ground floor and first floor provided leasable spaces for retailers and office tenants.

 
The building was designed by William Weston and represented a rare early use of reinforced concrete. The exterior was clad in gold-toned pressed brick with dark-brown terra cotta trim. Wrought-iron balconies served each apartment. A grand stair of white marble led to the porticoed entrance on the main courtyard. The design incorporated several innovative amenities for tenants. Sand was packed into the voids in the wall tiles and floor arches to help sound-proof the building.

 
Terrace Court was constructed during turbulent economic times, and Massey employed non-union labor. According to Massey's daughter, workmen from a builder's union, then striking, raided the site, murdering a night watchman and sabotaging the plumbing system. Nevertheless, the landmark project was completed in 1907. It was "christened" by Miss Lucille Gaston at an invitation-only event on the evening of Friday, November 6. Governor William Jelks remarked: "There may be other Terrace Courts in the future, but those who erect them will be copyists."
Notable early tenants included J. F. Leary, T. Ashby Weller, and Robert McLester, all on the fourth floor. Others included physician I. J. Sellers, Edward Cullom, and George Crawford. Mrs Helen Gewert operated a public restaurant in the building in 1910.
In January 1934, Massey told Hill Ferguson in a letter that his return on the Terrace Court investment had been very small, and would have run into debt had he borrowed to finance construction.





 
In 2006, Boothby Realty and its investment partners announced a $5 million plan to redevelop Terrace Court as the Terrace on Highland Condominiums. Plans called for 26 condominiums, ranging from 875 to 1,928 square feet, designed by Cohen Carnaggio Reynolds architects. The units were to be priced at $298,000 to $695,000. The courtyard and lobby areas would be restored closer to their original appearance, including a pre-Nazi party swastika design in the lobby tile. A fitness center and concierge were planned amenities for residents. Completion of the renovations was scheduled for 2007. Only the spot occupied by Dave's Pub would remain as commercial space. That plan did not proceed, and the property was foreclosed on by Regions Bank.
The pre-Nazi swastika was, of course, not meant to be an homage to Hitler and his National Socialist German Workers’ Party, even though the party popularly known as the Nazis had been founded in Germany in 1920.  Hitler wasn’t appointed chancellor of Germany by President Paul von Hindenburg until 1933. He quickly consolidated power into a totalitarian regime known as the Third Reich.  So why is there a swastika in the lobby of the Terrace Apartments and in other places around Birmingham?  It so happens that swastikas are an ancient symbol found in many cultures and the Nazis only appropriated it for their own malevolent ends.
 
Swastikas pop up in Native American culture.  Apparently, there was a small tribe in what is now known as Jones Valley in Jefferson County that used the symbol, and it was incorporated as a tribute to the original residents of the Birmingham area.  When Nazi Germany made a reversed version of it part of its national flag, it forever turned the pattern into a symbol of hate.
Not only is this building filled with charm, character, and history but the views from this property are pretty amazing.


 
In 2009, The Red Mountain Development Group purchased the Terrace Court Apartments for $3.8 million and undertook the complete renovation. Terrace Court now features 40 modern, loft style apartments and 14,000 square feet of retail, restaurant and office space. The property has been a catalyst for the revival of the historic 5 Points neighborhood.
 
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Tags: Historic real estate

STAGING/DECORATING ON THE CHEAP

Posted by Admin on Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Books, Books and More Books!

 
Ever browse the thrift stores and see all of those hardback books on sale for $.50 a piece and wish you had a use for them?  I do.  I love hardback books and own approximately 200 of them.  For book lovers the natural thing to decorate with?  Books!

Let's look at a few ideas that you can incorporate into your home with books.

Need a "safe" to keep your valuables, keys, change, jewelry or even old love letters?  Using an Exacto knife, hollow out a book, glue some pretty fabric to cover the raw edges left from cutting the hole, and add a clasp or a chain that can be bought at any crafts store and you have a book safe!



What about an IPad cover, a picture frame, a desk organizer or even a book purse?  





What about a book lamp?  I love this idea!  Stack your books to suit your vision, drill a hole all the way through them so you can fish the cord in there, glue the books together so they are stable and add the light kit.  So easy and so dramatic!



Book tables and book desks are another way to utilize old books.  Follow the same basics as the book lamps and you have a conversation piece that is truly one of a kind.  You can get as fancy and complicated as you wish on this one, or you can keep it simple.  Whatever your heart desires.  Tip:  The taller the project the more important it is to run a strong dowel through the books in addition to gluing them in order to keep them from toppling over.






How about a "book" shelf?  

Step by step instructions:













 
 
Lastly, what about a book planter?  Be sure to line the inside with heavy plastic to keep the water from soaking through the book.
 
 
That about wraps up this edition of decorating with books!  Now head to the thrift store or garage sales and grab some books!
 
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Red Mountain Suburbs

Posted by Admin on Sunday, December 10, 2017

Thursday, December 7, 2017



Anyone who has ever visited Birmingham, Alabama is familiar with the Vulcan statue and museum that sits atop Red Mountain.  What they might not be familiar with is the gorgeous neighborhood that shares the top of Red Mountain with him.  This neighborhood is called the Red Mountain Suburbs.  It was built between 1911-1935 and is the state's second oldest fully-realized, garden-landscaped residential area. It is situated on the slopes and crest of Red Mountain which provides spectacular views of the city below. 

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Anyone for Dessert?

Posted by Admin on Sunday, December 10, 2017

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Christmas is right around the corner!  As such, I thought I'd dedicate this month's blog to desserts fit for a Christmas dinner but super quick and easy.

If you're pressed for time, try making a Trifle.  Easy, fast and oh so delicious.  Trifle in English cuisine is a dessert made with fruit, a thin layer of sponge fingers soaked in sherry or another fortified wine, and custard. It can be topped with whipped cream

The beauty of this dessert is the fact that you can customize it to suit the taste of you and your family.  Love strawberries, banana's - use those!  Want a more wintery dessert?  Then try a cookie trifle using gingerbread and pumpkin pudding.  The variations are endless.

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