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National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior

Ensley Commercial Historic District

Commercial building in Ensley Historic District

Birmingham, Alabama

During the rapid industrial growth of Birmingham, The Ensley Works site became the largest commercial district outside of downtown. Tuxedo Junction and other dancehalls of Ensley were the birthplace of Alabama’s jazz, soul, and R&B legends. Erskine Hawkins, the world-renowned trumpet player and composer, wrote a number one hit “Tuxedo Junction.” Eddie Kendricks and Paul Williams also hail from Ensley and went on to form the legendary Motown group, The Temptations. The history of the district was not well documented until Birmingham received a $25,000 Preserve America grant to fund the research in 2007. The research results landed the Ensley Commercial District in the National Register of Historic Places (the hit-parade of historic sites) in 2010.

Photo: Commercial building in Ensley Historic District
– NPS

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