Birmingham's Theater and Retail District (AL) (Images of America)

From the 1890s to the 1970s, the thriving area of Birmingham between Eighteenth and Twenty-first Streets along First, Second, and Third Avenues was the bustling heart of this quickly growing city. Before the age of the shopping mall, the downtown was the center of retail and entertainment in Birmingham. Along these streets, entrepreneurial immigrants built department stores--including Pizitz and Loveman, Joseph, and Loeb--while the marquees of the Alabama, Ritz, and Lyric theaters, among others, shined over the busy downtown sidewalks.