Sunday, July 6, 2014
Birmingham Photo of the Day (17): 19th Street in 1908
The 1908 coffee table book Views of Birmingham Alabama (title page below) has a number of fascinating photographs of the area from that time. The photo below shows 19th Street looking north from 1st Avenue.
The street is busy. Pedestrians are on the sidewalks and crossing the street. Two streetcars can be seen in the distance. A horse-drawn carriage is coming toward us. We can see a prominent "Saloon" sign on the lower left and what looks like another one on the lower right.
Across the street is a large "Gayety" sign, and we can see "New Gayety" down the building on the left. These signs advertise the Gayety Theatre which opened in the building in 1905. Theatricals performed there were of the burlesque variety.
The building, seen completely in the photograph below, opened in 1882 as the O'Brien Opera House. Follow the Bham Wiki link for a fascinating history of the structure, which was torn down in 1915. The site is a parking lot today.
An undated photograph of the Gayety Theatre in its first incarnation as O'Brien's Opera House which opened in November 1882. Source: Bham Wiki