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Old 08-09-2007, 01:30 PM
 
Location: Historic Bessemer Alabama
629 posts, read 3,589,796 times
Reputation: 490

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Article about our community!
Jefferson County city undergoing 'renaissance'
Bessemer
Sunday, April 23, 2006
By Nancy H. Patton
Special assignments writer


When you think Bessemer, you probably think the Bright Star. Dubbed the "crown jewel" of the city, the restaurant is a state treasure and institution - the oldest continuously operated in Alabama, founded in 1907.

Moderator cut: copyrights

Last edited by Yac; 12-07-2007 at 07:39 AM..
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Old 08-09-2007, 03:01 PM
 
37 posts, read 203,305 times
Reputation: 39
It's a nice article. However, when I "think Bessemer" the first word that pops to mind is crime. For those who haven't peeked at the stats on the City-data page for Bessemer, its overall crime rating is more than 3 1/2 times the national average. The city's reputation is so bad locally that developers try to get their property annexed into the nearby city of Hoover. They know that Bessemer schools have such terrible reputations that even childless buyers typically are not interested in buying houses which will be difficult to resell. It's a shame, as there are some lovely old buildings in the town and it is fairly convenient to Tannehill State Park.
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Old 08-10-2007, 08:26 AM
 
Location: Historic Bessemer Alabama
629 posts, read 3,589,796 times
Reputation: 490
Quote:
Originally Posted by HSVmom View Post
It's a nice article. However, when I "think Bessemer" the first word that pops to mind is crime. For those who haven't peeked at the stats on the City-data page for Bessemer, its overall crime rating is more than 3 1/2 times the national average. The city's reputation is so bad locally that developers try to get their property annexed into the nearby city of Hoover. They know that Bessemer schools have such terrible reputations that even childless buyers typically are not interested in buying houses which will be difficult to resell. It's a shame, as there are some lovely old buildings in the town and it is fairly convenient to Tannehill State Park.
Bessemer is convenient to almost everything with the lengthened Lakeshore Drive. When we moved from Trussville we looked at the crime stats and talked to alot of real estate experts. They all agreed Bessemer is on the upswing with several new communities being developed, added Big Business moving in downtown, a new courthouse and beefed up police force. Crime stats are on par with Trussville, Vestavia and Homewood with the exeption of one area........The Bessemer Housing Projects! Almost all the violent crimes are ALL commited in the projects, according to police stats. As for me and my family we have no reason to drive through or "hang out" looking for trouble in the wee hours of the morning in the projects just as most people would'nt do in Elyton Village or any of the notorious crime ridden areas of Birmingham. Your right though, over the years, Bessemer has been one of the roughest neighborhoods.............it's all about to change!
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Old 08-27-2007, 02:27 PM
 
Location: San Diego, CA
182 posts, read 898,228 times
Reputation: 75
Okay, I asked my boyfriend (20 year Birmingham resident) to give me a tour of “Historic Bessemer” this past weekend because I wanted to see the historic homes on the websites you have posted before.
He was hesitant to do so but we went on our way back from the Bug Blast car show at Tannehill.

He kept talking about being very careful not to do anything that would get us shot. I just rolled my eyes at him thinking he was just being his normal cynical self. I am from Southern California after all, how dangerous could a little town in the south be. I told him just because people are impoverished does not mean they are violent. Projects does not necessarily have to be synonymous with dangerous, etc. etc. etc. but by the time we were done with our little ‘tour’, I couldn’t get out of there fast enough and he was telling me “I told you so” the whole way home.

The last time I remember being in that much fear for my life was when I got lost in Stockton, CA (which is right up there with Compton IMO)! I think what finally did it for me was the spray painted graffiti on a beautiful old run down building that looked like it may have been a school at one point. Something about the killing of blacks…

I did see some of the houses in the pictures but jeez, they are surrounded by the projects and they are in pretty bad shape. It really is a shame because there are a lot of really cool looking old houses but they are all in bad shape. That Sweet house is AMAZING though but I was too afraid to even slow down to check it out. And the old train station is very cool.

That place is 20 years from making a turn around IMO. I admire their enthusiasm for the area though.
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Old 08-27-2007, 02:46 PM
 
23,897 posts, read 10,269,303 times
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Were everyone getting back into their cars in a hurry nothing would ever change anywhere.

A friend of mine lives in Stockton, CA. She manages her shopping with bullet proof vest and shot gun just nicely. :>)))

It takes money and determination to clean up a neighborhood. I fell in love with a train relay station in Bessemer but my respective half has to drive to work on the other side of Birmingham.
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Old 08-28-2007, 08:32 AM
 
Location: Historic Bessemer Alabama
629 posts, read 3,589,796 times
Reputation: 490
Quote:
Originally Posted by Socal2Bham View Post
Okay, I asked my boyfriend (20 year Birmingham resident) to give me a tour of “Historic Bessemer” this past weekend because I wanted to see the historic homes on the websites you have posted before.
He was hesitant to do so but we went on our way back from the Bug Blast car show at Tannehill.

He kept talking about being very careful not to do anything that would get us shot. I just rolled my eyes at him thinking he was just being his normal cynical self. I am from Southern California after all, how dangerous could a little town in the south be. I told him just because people are impoverished does not mean they are violent. Projects does not necessarily have to be synonymous with dangerous, etc. etc. etc. but by the time we were done with our little ‘tour’, I couldn’t get out of there fast enough and he was telling me “I told you so” the whole way home.

The last time I remember being in that much fear for my life was when I got lost in Stockton, CA (which is right up there with Compton IMO)! I think what finally did it for me was the spray painted graffiti on a beautiful old run down building that looked like it may have been a school at one point. Something about the killing of blacks…

I did see some of the houses in the pictures but jeez, they are surrounded by the projects and they are in pretty bad shape. It really is a shame because there are a lot of really cool looking old houses but they are all in bad shape. That Sweet house is AMAZING though but I was too afraid to even slow down to check it out. And the old train station is very cool.

That place is 20 years from making a turn around IMO. I admire their enthusiasm for the area though.
I don't know about the projects, I have never been down there! But I do know that where we live is pretty much problem free with the exception of speeding and loud radios. We have two daughters (3 and 5yrs)......and we feel safe. What kinds of things happened when you were here? Did someone pull a gun on you or threaten you? Did your car get stripped or did you get mugged? Granted it's not the kind of neighborhood you would let a 3 and 5 yr old play by the street or down the road unattended...........but who would do that anywhere? The day we moved in we had 6 people bring us food to the house. I have lived in Pleasant Grove, McCalla, Hueytown, Rock Creek, Homewood and Trussville and nobody has ever done that, let alone even introduce themselves. I feel as safe here as I did at any of the aforementioned cities.

I'm real curious as to what happened while you were here? It should be brought up at the next neighborhood meeting!
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Old 08-28-2007, 10:48 AM
 
41 posts, read 145,932 times
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Funny stuff about Stockton, Socal2bham (and Threestep). My husband grew up in Carson, CA of all places (not too far from Compton and other well-known-for-being-crazy L.A. cities) ... and HIS "section" of the street was actually nice ... but drive about 12 houses down, and things start getting ugly. Neighorhoods can change JUST LIKE THAT from street to street.

I don't know too much about Bessemer other than how much my kids want to go to the water park there...BUT, I drove through Springville over the weekend and talk about CUTE! If you blink, you'll miss it -- but, the drive up Hwy 11 was pretty. Now that I am kinda-sorta getting to know the Birmingham area, I'm realizing it offers a great mix of country charm and hip (there's that word again) city happenings. And, since I seem to have a split personality -- half, gotta get me some apple pie at the corner diner AND other half, must have sushi at swanky downtown restaurant -- the area is starting to suit me...almost.

Country side of me: I'm checking into fall festivals...anyone know about Blount County's covered bridges and the fall festival there? What about Oneonta -- what's going on there?? I'll make these questions a new thread...
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Old 08-28-2007, 11:40 AM
 
Location: San Diego, CA
182 posts, read 898,228 times
Reputation: 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by Historic Bessemer View Post
I don't know about the projects, I have never been down there!
It's obvious that Bessemer has a wide range from country to projects which is why I was specific about the particular area we were in as to not insinuate that ALL of Bessemer is scary. Take a drive around the projects (wish I would remember street names) and you will see what I mean.

Admittedly I can tend to feed off of others emotions. Had my boyfriend not been so vocal about all the "dangers" I probably wouldn't have become as paranoid. None of the scenarios you mentioned above happened to us, which makes me feel a little bad about the way I portrayed our tour. It was more of just a bad feeling. A sense of uncomfortableness that comes with feeling like you COULD be in danger. The same feeling you would get driving through some parts of East LA. Tone is really hard to detect in this medium and without knowing me it's even harder.

Apparently Crestwood used to be in pretty bad shape and it turned around, well most of it has. The outskirts are still in "transition". I looked at buying an old home there because it was sooo inexpensive but then realized why when I got there. After some man got in front of my car, tried to stop me and was saying somethings I wouldn't repeat, I decided to wait until it "transitons" a little more. Crestwood is a prime example how much difference a few blocks can make. Not 4 or 5 blocks from where that happened the homes jump in value about 3x and the whole scene is different.

Regarding Stockton, that little episode, (we ended up in the middle of a riot) was a loooong time ago but the stigma of the area has stuck with me because of it. I was surpised to learn not too long ago that Stockton was actually on the list of up and coming booming areas.

mp33, I bought a couple of books on things to do in Alabama and the South in general and there is a chapter in one of them about the covered bridges. I've been wanting to plot out a course to check them out and take pictures myself.
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Old 08-28-2007, 01:33 PM
 
Location: Historic Bessemer Alabama
629 posts, read 3,589,796 times
Reputation: 490
Quote:
Originally Posted by Socal2Bham View Post
It's obvious that Bessemer has a wide range from country to projects which is why I was specific about the particular area we were in as to not insinuate that ALL of Bessemer is scary. Take a drive around the projects (wish I would remember street names) and you will see what I mean.

Admittedly I can tend to feed off of others emotions. Had my boyfriend not been so vocal about all the "dangers" I probably wouldn't have become as paranoid. None of the scenarios you mentioned above happened to us, which makes me feel a little bad about the way I portrayed our tour. It was more of just a bad feeling. A sense of uncomfortableness that comes with feeling like you COULD be in danger. The same feeling you would get driving through some parts of East LA. Tone is really hard to detect in this medium and without knowing me it's even harder.

Apparently Crestwood used to be in pretty bad shape and it turned around, well most of it has. The outskirts are still in "transition". I looked at buying an old home there because it was sooo inexpensive but then realized why when I got there. After some man got in front of my car, tried to stop me and was saying somethings I wouldn't repeat, I decided to wait until it "transitons" a little more. Crestwood is a prime example how much difference a few blocks can make. Not 4 or 5 blocks from where that happened the homes jump in value about 3x and the whole scene is different.

Regarding Stockton, that little episode, (we ended up in the middle of a riot) was a loooong time ago but the stigma of the area has stuck with me because of it. I was surpised to learn not too long ago that Stockton was actually on the list of up and coming booming areas.

mp33, I bought a couple of books on things to do in Alabama and the South in general and there is a chapter in one of them about the covered bridges. I've been wanting to plot out a course to check them out and take pictures myself.
We live on Dartmouth..................we are at one end and the projects at the other. It is night and day. In fact we are trying to get speed bumps put in so all the "gangbangers" will not drive down our street as it is a straight shot to the nearest hwy. The loud radios drive me crazy!!!!!!! Crestwood is a great example of how Bessemer is btw. I think if we can cut down on all the "through" traffic, people who visit our area won't get the same feeling you did!
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Old 08-29-2007, 09:56 AM
 
Location: North Alabama
1,546 posts, read 2,766,101 times
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Socal2Bham, no need to feel even a little bad about what you felt while driving around in Bessemer. I made the mistake of cutting through Ensley (which was once a great place to live) on one of our trips back home from B'ham, and we were scared to death by the time we got out of there. And it's not been that long ago that the Bright Star had off-duty police on the sidewalk outside the restaurant to escort patrons to and from their vehicles. We have to trust our instincts and experience--and you know a bad neighborhood when you see one.

Bessemer was just killed when Pullman Standard pulled out and hasn't been able to make much of a comeback yet. There's hope, because it once was a nice place to live and is still very convenient for access to B'ham, but IMO it's going to be a long pull. New development along the Shannon Bypass seems to be helping somewhat.
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