“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

Birmingham in Jefferson County, Alabama — The American South (East South Central)

Powell School

Powell School Marker image. Click for full size.
By Tim Carr, December 21, 2009
1. Powell School Marker
Inscription.  Birmingham's first public school was named for Colonel James R. Powell, the city's first elected Mayor. This energetic promoter also served as the first President of the Elyton Land Company (now Birmingham Realty), which founded the city in 1871. Two years later, Colonel John T. Terry led the fund raising to establish a "free school for white children." The school was "free" only of ties to a religious institution for fees were charged according to grade level. Mayor Powell donated his salary, police court fines and other city fees to support the school.

The present red brick Victorian Gothic style structure, designed by S. J. Hall of Cleveland, Ohio in 1888, is the third Powell School. Until 1918, the school accommodated grades one through twelve and for a time served as a training school for prospective teachers.
Erected 1991 by Alabama Historical Commission / Central City Neighborhood Association and the Birmingham Historical Society.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: EducationGovernment & PoliticsIndustry & Commerce.
Powell School Marker image. Click for full size.
By Tim Carr, December 21, 2009
2. Powell School Marker
33° 31.29′ N, 86° 48.21′ W. Marker is in Birmingham, Alabama, in Jefferson County. Marker is at the intersection of 6th Avenue North and 24th Street North, on the left on 6th Avenue North. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Birmingham AL 35203, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Tutwiler Hotel/The Tutwiler-Ridgely Rebirth (approx. ¼ mile away); The Birmingham Public Library / The Linn - Henley Research Library (approx. 0.3 miles away); Jefferson County Courthouse Site (approx. 0.3 miles away); Concord Center (approx. 0.3 miles away); Jefferson County Courthouses (approx. 0.3 miles away); Title Building (approx. 0.3 miles away); Temple Wilson Tutwiler, II / Tutwiler Hotel (approx. 0.4 miles away); Clark Building (approx. 0.4 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Birmingham.
Additional comments.
1. Powell Elementary School
It is a terrible loss for such a beautiful and Historic building to meet with the fate of this fire, I not only attended Powell from the first grade through the seventh, it was a large part of of my growing up in what then was called Central City.

My friends and I not only went to school there, we also played there after school and on the weekends. As I got older it became the place where we all hung out to socialize, and the very same
Powell School image. Click for full size.
By Tim Carr, December 21, 2009
3. Powell School
place I met my first true love, standing on the steps every morning waiting on him.

It truly saddens me that the city of Birmingham has let this beautiful building sit and waste away. They could have used it as a low income Daycare to help out parents in the downtown area, or at least turned it into some sort of school for Head Start or something similar.

I pray that the City Council does not make the mistake of tearing down this beautiful building much like they did to the spectacular and Historic Birmingham Train Station. That was truly a loss for the people of Birmingham. So let's pray that they decide to renovate this piece of history and keep it going for generations to come.
    — Submitted January 17, 2011, by Shelby Baker Topazi of Shelby, Alabama.
Aftermath of the Powell School Fire image. Click for full size.
By Tim & Renda Carr, January 8, 2011
4. Aftermath of the Powell School Fire
Fire night January 7, 2011 fire destroys the 3rd floor and roof of the old Powell Elementary School.
Credits. This page was last revised on August 28, 2020. It was originally submitted on January 20, 2010, by Timothy Carr of Birmingham, Alabama. This page has been viewed 1,562 times since then and 5 times this year. Last updated on May 29, 2015, by J. Makali Bruton of Querétaro, Mexico. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on January 20, 2010, by Timothy Carr of Birmingham, Alabama.   4. submitted on January 8, 2011, by Timothy Carr of Birmingham, Alabama. • Andrew Ruppenstein was the editor who published this page.
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Feb. 28, 2021