description from: Crestwood South…a brief history
links to news articles from: Birmingham Public Library Digital Collection
Crestwood South began to take shape as early as 1947. A Post-war America (1945-1960) brought with it an economic boom with the growth of cities and towns all across America; the City of Birmingham was no exception. A strong post-war economy also resulted in a population boom. As housing shortages quickly mounted, land developers in the Birmingham area emerged in full force to meet the demand for new housing. Jackson Securities and Investment Company led the initial development of the Crestwood South area.
As “Birmingham’s most important subdivision” (Birmingham News, circa 1952) continued to evolve, so did its name. Crestwood South was once referred to by many names, but predominantly either Crestwood or Crestwood Hills. Throughout the developmental years, areas which lie adjacent (north and south) to the “New Atlanta Highway” (Highway 78/ Crestwood Boulevard), were referred to as Crestwood. The crossroads of the Crestwood Community undoubtedly lie at the intersection of Crestwood Boulevard and 56th Street. Over the next decade Crestwood South would continue to grow.
Crestwood South experienced exceptional growth between the mid 1950’s and early 1960’s The neighborhood had lived up to its earlier title and had become one of Birmingham’s most desirable neighborhoods. Contributing factors such as its close proximity to the city center and the construction of wonderful new homes in an architectural style known as “mid-century modern” greatly increased interest in the neighborhood. Other contributing factors were the wonderful schools (Comer, Minnie Holman, Woodlawn, McElwain), various civic clubs, organized little league football (Crestwood Colts) and holiday traditions such as pictures with Santa at the Crestwood Park Pavillion, the beloved “candy throwing Santa” on Clairmont Avenue, as well as the coveted prize for “Best Door Decoration”.
The neighborhood continued to thrive throughout the 1960’s, but did so against a backdrop of a rising movement that would be the most important movement the world would ever know. The Civil Rights Movement provided, among many great things, a future opportunity for the neighborhood to grow in a new, human way; learning the values of diversity, tolerance, acceptance and equal rights along the way. There were struggles that lined the path, but Crestwood South would emerge forever changed and, as result, would continue to grow and become one of Birmingham’s most diverse communities.
Although the late 1970’s and early 1980’s brought some decline in growth for urban neighborhoods in general, it would be the 1990’s that would usher-in the urban-professional renaissance that transformed the neighborhood and community, seemingly overnight. The results were increased real estate values, increased interest in community affairs and a community that welcomed the new faces of Crestwood South – new faces that melded with the existing “pioneer residents” of the neighborhood’s early beginnings. Together the residents began to share a common vision of diversity which, even today, continues to propel the neighborhood further into the 21st century. The reality of Crestwood South’s diverse community of neighbors is as solid as the mountainside of iron-ore which serves as its backdrop.