Are you feeling Lucky?
A piece of 1970s-era facade recently disappeared from the corner of the former Red Cross headquarters building downtown, revealing an old “Lucky Strike Bowling Alleys” sign underneath.
Charles Simpson, whose Brookmont Realty Group is marketing the building at 2225 Third Avenue North, said the culprit was a thief who probably used a crowbar to try and steal a piece of the stone siding. But what he really did was uncover a little bit of history.
According to city directories kept at the Linn-Henley Research Library, the Lucky Strike bowling alley was located next door to the Red Cross building, at 2217 Third Ave. North, from 1941 through 1948. That location now is a parking lot.
That bowling alley was hardly alone. Just prior to World War II bowling was big in Birmingham, and there were at least half a dozen alleys nearby in what amounted to a bowling district.
The vacant, former Red Cross headquarters was built sometime in the 1940s, Simpson said, but got its current look when it was expanded in the ’70s. So that sign may have spent 40 years in the dark.
This item was published in The Insider, a weekly column in The Birmingham News Business section. – Stan Diel – February 24, 2011 [taken from alabama.com]