>The changing look of Bessemer

>This is picture day. A picture is worth a thousand words, and these pictures will show you how the south east corner of downtown Bessemer is changing. We have two new restaurants opening soon, a new DHR building going up, the oldest restored outdoor advertising in the state, the only brick street in the city, an expanded Simmon’s Sporting Goods, and a building just waiting for somebody.

This is the old freight depot, now owned by the Hall of History, and this accurately restored sign is the oldest piece of restored outdoor advertising in the state. It was original in 1904. It has attracted the attention of historians across the state. The restoration was funded by the Bessemer Historical Homeowners Association. No, a saloon is not opening nearby, and you can’t really buy alcohol here. (However you could throw a rock and hit a couple of beer stores, so don’t worry.)

The building next door is privately owned, but it may be the next project for the Bessemer Historical Homeowners Association, which according to its bylaws, is charged with preserving and protecting homes, buildings and sites of historic interest; promoting and encouraging historical research; enhancing the cultural, social, educational and economic well-being of the Bessemer area; among other things that actually relate to the historic homes in the community.

There are more pictures, and an announcement, after the jump, so click “read more.”

Eateries are springing up in the blocks near the new courthouse. Nukes Sports Grille has already been in business for a while and already has a faithful following.

Their burgers, wings and shrimp poboys are favorites of our group, but they may get some competition on the poboy when Boateng’s opens just up the street. Boateng’s Cajun Creations was first announced here on June 10, 2010, and was expected to be open by now. They have been a little bit delayed, but I still see progress on the building every time I drive by, so it shouldn’t be too long.

Also opening soon, and being announced here, will be a bakery and deli in the spot formerly known as Tippi’s in the restored Berney Bank Building.

The restaurant is not named yet, so the sign just says “Coming Soon,” but it’s bound to be good because Van Sykes is the one opening the place and we know he can do barbecue and pies. This will be more deli style food, though. And we need a good bakery in the area. Oh, and they will be serving O’Henry’s coffee.

Also in the area will be the new DHR building. Site work has been underway and now if the weather will cooperate (meaning no rain) the foundation work will begin. The crew from Argo Construction was out there today marking the site for the upcoming work.


That building in the background of the above picture is Simmons Sporting Goods, and their expansion is now complete.


In front of Simmons, and for the length of the block, is Bessemer’s only remaining brick street.


If the vote getting paving spree gets crazy enough to cover these bricks I know plenty of people that will be s***ing bricks. Pardon my middle school language.

And nearby is an old theater, and I have no idea what it is used for now, other than a place for people to gather outside while waiting to get their haircut next door.

But I see it being restored. I see art films and independent films being shown. I see children’s matinees on Saturdays. All we need is a group, or a person that wants to take on the project (assuming the building is available) and the silver screen could light back up with classics and cartoons and Gone With the Wind or Brokeback Mountain (two classics).

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