>Arlington School Saved

>Be sure to read my Western Tribune column, which follows this post. It’s about Public Health history and the current economic situation.

At the Bessemer School Board meeting last night the Board voted to pass the following item: “Approval of the sale of the Arlington School Property located at 1901 Arlington Avenue, Bessemer, AL to ‘Housing for Birmingham, Inc.’ in the amount of $75,000. Mr. W. David Nichols is president.”

Of course, this is not a contract and although it seems from the conversation that the details have been worked out, they still have to be put in contract form and the transaction take place.

For those who are interested in details, board member Sam Morris made the motion and Hattie Aikerson seconded it. All the members with the exception of Christine Knight voted for the sale. Knight said that her no vote was because of her “passion for Arlington School” and that she knew the property would sell, and must sell. She indicated that the reason was because the board could not afford to restore the building. To me, “passion” for the building would mean making an effort to save it. But that’s just me. She seemed happy with the sale and the knowledge the building would be saved.

Would you go in this building? Well now you don’t have to. Take a tour here. A description of the building in the South Bessemer Inventory being updated for our Historic District project says “the entry-bay decorated Flemish-style parapet has been destroyed.” That’s not all, apparently.

This is the “jewel box theatre with a raked floor, proscenium stage, and horseshoe balcony” that was described as one of the treasured features of the building.


The balcony reminds me of the one in the church next door.

Of course the building, inside and out, is a reminder of what’s bad in our society.

KKK members (or wanna-be’s) were not happy so they vandalized the gymnasium about 18 years ago.


I wonder what these girls, identified as members of the Tutwiler Literary Society at the original Bessemer High School on Arlington Avenue would think if they saw the school today.

David Nichols plans to restore the building as a senior housing development. He told me this morning that he expects the project to take less than a year, once the sale is completed.

This is tremendous news, albeit belated, for the South Bessemer neighborhood. David and I spoke about renewing the effort for historical recognition. It’s going to happen. Do you want to help?

In a day or two I will be posting some information about another historic building nearby, and what the plans are.

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