1930’s Stone Work in Parks

- Photo Credit: Francesca Gross

A City of Birmingham bond issue in 1931 provided $500,000 in funds for the Parks Board to hire unemployed workers to build recreational structures in Birmingham city parks. In Green Springs Park (now George Ward Park), they re-graded and sodded picnic grounds, straightened stream channels and enclosed springs in pipe, widened roadway and constructed a stone and concrete bridge, and constructed two tennis courts and eleven barbecue pits. Other parks in the bond issue included Avondale, East Lake, Ensley, and Linn.

In 1932, the Red Cross coordinated the recruitment and pay (food and clothing) for the laborers who worked in the parks. In 1933 and 1934, the Civil Works Administration (CWA) coordinated the labor to develop Lane Park, now the Birmingham Zoo and Birmingham Botanical Gardens (BBG). Quarrying onsite (today’s Kaul Wildflower Quarry at the BBG) provided for paths and bridges in the gardens, the picnic houses, and the great Refreshment House (also called the zookeeper’s house).

$1.7 million in Works Progress Administration (WPA) funds were used to build Birmingham parks, including improvements to Avondale, East Lake, Lane, McLendon, Woodrow Wilson, and twenty four other parks. Workers built four swimming pools and twenty roller skating rinks, constructed a community center in Central Park, and improved playgrounds and the Municipal Stadium (now Legion Field).

At George Ward Park, some or perhaps all the picnic pavilions were built in the later part of the 20th century. The Twin Bar-B-Que Chimneys were built in the style of ancient iron furnaces. The Green Springs Villa (near the tennis courts) was erected in 1933 by the Civil Works Administration.

Green Springs Villa Green Springs Villa

Green Springs Villa