Everyone knows Birmingham for the history, the medical centers, and the shared name with a city in the United Kingdom. We shop at the Summit and visit the bars and restaurants by our downtown Birmingham apartments. But there’s more to Birmingham than hospitals and shopping malls. In the Magic City, there really is magic around every corner. Check out some of our favorite hidden gems in Birmingham, Alabama.
Museum of Fond Memories at Reed Books
On 3rd Ave North in downtown Birmingham, you’ll discover one of the most enchanting places any book/history lover could visit. Books as new as last year and as old as five hundred years can be found at Jim Reed Books, AKA the Museum of Fond Memories. Jim Reed established the place in 1980 to hold his growing collection of antiques — stickers, posters, albums, toys, and other trinkets that will transport you to another era. The Museum of Fond Memories evokes that magical feeling of nostalgia you didn’t even realize you were missing.
The role Sloss Furnaces played in Birmingham’s industrialization is no secret. However, its history of hauntings may surprise you. Sloss hosts a haunted house every year for Halloween, but you may get the eerie feeling simply by walking around in one of their self-guided tours. Legend has it that in the 1900s, a foreman by the name of “Slag” died under mysterious circumstances, leading some to suspect that he was murdered by workers who’d had enough of his ruthless demands. In fact, several paranormal experts stated with certainty that restless souls roamed the grounds at the Sloss Furnaces. Even if you’re skeptical, it shouldn’t scare you to at least go check it out.
If you’re a die-hard music lover, you’ll love at Charlemagne Records. Recently celebrating its 40th anniversary, it’s the oldest music store in town. Much like Reed Books, it carries a good collection of new and old. Classic vinyls are all around as well as posters, cards, T-shirts, and other pieces of music history. The surrounding neighborhood has changed, but Charlemagne has persisted throughout its forty years. It’s a testament to the passion for music history the family-owned business has as well as its loyal fans.