The Highland Avenue area remains one of the most delightful and historical areas in Birmingham. With popular favorites like Rojo and O’Henry’s Coffee, KH Management enjoys managing commercial spaces in the historic submarket.
History of Highland Avenue
Highland Avenue was constructed in order to provide access to a 1,500-acre wooded property on South Highlands. A mule-drawn passenger railway was laid, beginning at 1st Avenue North and 19th Street and turning south along 22nd Street and branching east and west at 5th Avenue South. The two end-points, after extension, were at Five Points South and the intersection of 29th Street and 3rd Avenue South. With a detailed topographic survey, the winding thoroughfare that would complete the loop was planned. The right of way was set at 100 feet, with no more than 3% slope to accommodate horse-drawn carriages and trolleys. Care was taken to maximize attractive lot frontages wherever possible, and to provide parks in low areas where building would be impractical.
By the 1960s, with the streetcar gone, the wide avenue’s center median was frequently used for automobile parking. A major revitalization of Highland Avenue finally proceeded in the late 1970s. The renovations provided new curbs, median planters, repairs to storm and sanitary sewers, angled parking and sidewalk and lighting upgrades. Older trees were saved wherever possible and new plantings included azaleas, cherry trees, dogwood trees, crape myrtles, sugar maples, scarlet oaks, dwarf yaupon holly, dwarf Chinese holly, and blue rug juniper.