Vulcan Park and Museum’s Linn-Henley Gallery displays temporary exhibitions and collections that shed light on a particular aspect of history, community life or culture. Currently displayed in the gallery is Terminal Station: Birmingham’s Great Temple of Travel, an exhibit exploring the in-depth history of Birmingham’s Terminal Station in celebration of Alabama’s Bicentennial.
From 1909-1969, Terminal Station stood as an icon of Birmingham’s boom years. “The Great Temple of Travel,” as it was popularly known, welcomed out-of-town visitors, residents, and immigrants to the Magic City with awe-inspiring grandeur. By the 1960s, automobiles and airlines were the favored mode of transportation, and the station was obsolete. It was demolished in 1969, just days after the last train to depart the station made its final farewell.
After the 1969 demolition of the train station, concerned citizens increased their efforts to advocate for the preservation of many other Birmingham landmarks and historical buildings such as the Carver theater, Sixteenth Street Baptist Church and Ruffner Mountain Nature Preserve. Its destruction personally impacted many and inspired several successful renovations and restoration projects. The exhibit is based upon the book Great Temple of Travel: A Pictorial History of Birmingham’s Terminal Station by Marvin Clemons, available for purchase at The Anvil.