Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Tour of MCM homes in Birmingham, Alabama - Part 1

Birmingham is, shall we say, no Palm Springs. Traditional is the thing around here, and many MCM homes have been altered or disguised with the trappings of French Country or Old World. But there are still some great examples here. You just have to know where to look. And since there are few "tracts" here like you see out west, I think there are probably a lot of isolated MCM owners in various parts of town. I'm hoping this blog will be the start of a "gathering place" or network.

I started in my old neighborhood, Crestwood. This is a great, progressive, city neighborhood. Lots of young professionals, artists, etc. The north side of Crestwood has a lot of 1920s homes. My former home (ain't it cute? but the stump/stonehenge thing in the front yard was actually a nice River Birch when I lived there):

7th Ave So.

The houses in Crestwood get newer street by street as you get closer to Red Mountain. 1920s near my old house, then 1940s cottages, then 1950s ranches and MCMs, and up on the side of the mountain, 1960s/70s ranches.

These two are next door to one another, clearly built by the same builder. They are surrounded by traditional ranches:
8th Avenue So

8th Ave So,

Here is a particularly nice ranch:
8th Ave So,

A few post-and-beam beauties:
8th Ave So.

Crestwood South

One of my favorites. But it looked nicer the last time I saw it, with a great spherical fountain out front. It must have changed hands:
56th St

This is a great ranch that spreads over 2 or 3 lots. I couldn't even get the entire house in one shot:
10th Ave So

Adjacent to Crestwood is Forest Park and there are a few nice mods here. This one is amazing, but hard to see because of the trees. First the front, then the side:

Forest Park

Forest Park

Another nice one in Forest Park:
Forest Park

Stay tuned for more!


  1. Great tour of Bham. I actually lived in Tuscaloosa for about 10 years while going to school and now am living in Atlanta. I did not realize Bham had so much MCM buildings...Feel free to check our blog out and get a good sense of MCM in Atlanta

  2. Sobayli -

    Thanks so much. I'll check out your blog as well. I usually find myself in Atlanta whenever there is a mod home tour, so am planning to be there in May for the MA tour. I need to get out and get some more photos . . .

  3. I lived in Huntsville from late '95 until mid ''98 and I love MCM. Thanks for sharing!

  4. I was so excited when I found your blog. I lived in MCM houses in both Berkeley, CA and Atlanta before moving back to Birmingham 7 years ago, and was sort of depressed at the lack of MCM architecture--in almost any form--in the Birmingham area. Your blog has inspired some recent, fun trips just randomly driving throughout various neighborhoods; Nothing is currently more exciting to me than spotting a cool modern house in the middle of Alabama! Thanks so much.

  5. Bottletree - Thanks for dropping in. The MCM is definitely hidden in the 'ham, but it is here. And exposing same is my mission. I've heard great things about your club and am honored you had time to pay me a "visit."

  6. Just discovered the blog. This is great stuff. Do you post pix on flickr?
    I like to search Atlanta and Birmingham other southern cities for MCM

    I would suggest other architecture lovers to search cities on flickr using mcm , atomic ranch or mid century modern tags.

    I would hope you would share some of your blogs photos on flickr

    Once again, keep up the good work

  7. love the site! just moved back to huntsville, al and wish i could find more mcm homes like these. they're fairly sporadic here as well. keep it up!

  8. Great post! It seems like I was also there to tour the place. I enjoyed reading it. MCM homes are really nice. The place was so relaxing. Anyway, thanks for sharing this post. Looking forward for your next post.


  9. The house in crestwood on 2 lots has alot of vintage detail left on the inside. I helped my friends move their piano into the house a few years ago and I was drooling the whole time.... it has a great pool in the back too.