Ensley and Tuxedo Junction
With dreams of building a vast steel production operation, Memphis planter Enoch Ensley founded a city in the wooded valley at the heart of Jefferson County, Alabama. He named the city Ensley, after himself, and established the Ensley Land Company to acquire and develop 4,000 acres for industrial facilities and a town. As field workers left their farms to work in steel mills and businesses sprang up on the valley floor, Ensley became a diverse place of hopes and desires. A strong community of churches, businesses, civic clubs, and neighborhoods developed around the factories and railroads. Jazz music was the social thread of Ensley's African American community, known as Tuxedo Junction. Musicians such as Erskine Hawkins famously mastered the style. The annexation of Ensley into Birmingham established the "Magic City" as the largest and wealthiest in Alabama and the heart of the Southern steel manufacturing economy.
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Abyssinia Missionary Baptist African American Alabama Avenue F Berthon Birmingham Public Library brick Church of Ensley City of Birmingham City of Ensley construction corner of Avenue corner of Nineteenth Cotton's Department Store Courtesy of Birmingham Courtesy of Dana Courtesy of Holy Courtesy of Violet Courtesy of What's Dana Crooks Dortch Don Drennen Motor downtown Birmingham downtown Ensley Drennen Motor Company Eddie Mae Thomas Ensley Avenue Ensley Baptist Church Ensley High School Ensley Highlands Ensley Land Company Erskine Hawkins Erskine Ramsay facility Hardy Thomas Hazel Freeze Percer Holy Family Church Holy Family Community Holy Family Hospital included jazz John Meehan located Main Street Birmingham mill Missionary Baptist Church neighborhood Nineteenth Street Nixon Building pastor photograph features Pike Avenue Public Library Archives Ramsay-McCormack Building Spina Street and Avenue streetcar streetscape Theater Today Tuxedo Junction Twentieth Street U.S. Steel Village Creek Vincent Mariano Violet Hester Hopping What's On Second