Read more about the founding history of Bessemer here.
January 2017 for press releases
A message from the President-
Helping Others and improving our neighborhoods and town is probably the most important byproduct of our purpose as an organization. What is that exact purpose though? Keeping the historic aesthetic presence ALIVE and thriving so that someone will value doing it in the future once we cannot.
We are caretakers until someone else also becomes a caretaker. How well are we taking care of our historic homes and TOWN? Do we complain or do we act? Are we caretaking? I will ask this question a lot over the course of 2017 in this role. I hope that everyone hears what reverence there is in that. It's not about meetings, or events, or minutes, or all the logistics that a board must attend to. These are necessary, but not our purpose.
When Bessemer began, its immense diversity and wealth created one of the most important architectural areas in the state, even the South. With economic changes, an aging demographic in the historic areas, and lack of appreciation in recent history for the beauty and soul that the historic structures add, it has changed. What changed though? Most of the buildings are still here. Neglect, littering, and façade changes that damage integrity have set us back. All will not get it. ALL never does. Those who do get it have a responsibility.
It's about caretaking. Progress, Improvement, and Economic upswing will all occur with one single word - Caretaking. As board members, as members, as historic homeowners, as a part of the community, are we caretaking so that down the road someone will have the opportunity do the same?
Michael Collins Allen serves as President of the Bessemer Historic Society, President of the Bessemer Board of Beautification, and is a community activist and real estate agent. His home located in the South Highland Historic District and has been featured repeatedly in print media, local television, and web blogs and social media. Contact him and learn more about Bessemer Historic Society's caretaking efforts via www.bessemerhistoricsociety.com
August 2016 for press releases
A message from the President-
Everything begins with Pride!
Bessemer, since its 1887 inception, has always been an absolutely beautiful city graced with an abundance of diversity. Much of that original diversity of its residents carries through to the architectural styles and designs that we see while navigating the historic streets of our town. Due to economic changes, an aging demographic in the historic areas, and some lack of appreciation in recent history for the invaluable beauty that the residences bring to the façade of the town, many areas need our help. Combining individual hands on efforts of our members has had success in recent years. However, we, as a group, are now envisioning helping on a broader scale than just focusing on singular structures.
Unfortunately, there is a Pride that had been lost. Mansions and beautifully crafted structures were just dwellings for the time. We need to refuel the passions of Pride in our homes, blocks, districts, and overall city. With this Pride comes something that can miraculously resolve many problems that seem to otherwise have no solution. With Pride, people don't litter. With Pride, the front lawns are cut more often and more meticulously. With Pride, the porch gets painted and a tree gets planted. With Pride, cars park straighter and off of the streets more often. With Pride, the dogs aren't chained in the front yards. With Pride, car stereos are turned lower in our residential areas. With Pride, traffic laws and city ordinances are obeyed. With Pride, we help our neighbors who can't afford minor repairs or standard maintenance because we know its honorable but it also helps the entire community. With Pride, we encourage those that can do standard maintenance or repairs and have simply procrastinated.
Imagine the impact that this newfound Pride could have on the appearance and feel of our streets. Imagine that impact positively affecting our depressed real estate values. Imagine investors then looking at an improving township scenario instead of a declining one. Then, the real progress begins. With all things in place above, a stigma reverses, the local economy begins to soar, and real estate values increase all allowing a better tax base for our city to operate effectively.
The perfect scenario just takes Pride. Why did we lose it? Maybe we didn't. Perhaps many of us had it all the while but made assumptions about others lack of Pride and we let it affect our own. It all begins with you, your next door neighbors and your block. That small effort of fixing something left undone or improving what is your own could be contagious. It may even change an entire city. With Pride, comes more Pride! Don't wait another second. Show you pride today! Let's all progress together.
Michael Collins Allen, President of Bessemer Historic Society, is community activist and a real estate agent, serves as President of the Bessemer Beautification Board, and a PROUD resident of South Highland Historic District. His home and its recent renovations have been featured repeatedly in newsprint, local TV, social media and web blogs. Contact him or learn more about the Bessemer Historic Society by visiting www.bessemerhistoricsociety.com
BHHA was organized in 1995 by residents in the Jonesboro area of Bessemer. Since then, the association has grown to include members from nearly every historic neighborhood in the city and several from surrounding areas.
Please visit an upcoming meeting and consider joining the Bessemer Historic Society.
2016 BHHA Officers
President: Michael Collins Allen
Vice President: Craig Rackley
Secretary: Wesley Sims
Treasurer: Ric Herbert
Board Member at Large: Jonathan Edmondson
Board Member at Large: Brian Ponds
Annual dues are $25 per household.
The Bessemer Historical Homeowners Association (dba Bessemer Historic Society) is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization.
We will be adding a comprehensive list along with photographs of many of our architecturally significant homes and their current curators here shortly! Check back to see our progress!
The Clay House on Dartmouth Ave during a One House at a Time project in the fall of 2015.
The town was founded in the postbellum era by the Bessemer Land and Improvement Company, owned by coal magnate Henry F. DeBardeleben, after he had inherited Daniel Pratt's investments. The mayor and councilmen voted to incorporate the city of Bessemer on September 9, 1887. DeBardeleben Park in Downtown is named in his honor and hosts frequent community events. William H.H. Judson, editor Bessemer Weekly (Judson-Moody House ca.1887) and Pinkney Scott (Scott-Vines House ca. 1899) were among the first businessmen and residents and the corresponding homeowners are now board members for our group. Below is an image of a document demonstrating their dealings. Many documents such as this are available to view at the Bessemer Hall of History.
B E S S E M E R H I S T O R I C S O C I E T Y . C O M
Bessemer Historical Homeowner's Association