An ugly past fading in Birmingham
he past is jumbled on the lot like the yard sale time forgot: rusted iron works, chipped lawn sculpture, old gas pumps, and chrome bath fixtures, sheltered by trees and invaded by creeping vines. The neglect is essentially an act. Everything at the resto-bar The Garage, collected by owner Fritz Woehle, is for sale. Too crowded to be bucolic, the patch comes alive at night. In the daytime, the lunch crowd shares it with stray cats the staff has nicknamed. Built on railroads and iron and scarred by racial violence, Birmingham is seeking to rise out of the ashes of its past and draw young people. Already a haven for recent college grads in tech jobs who are drawn by the residential bang for their buck, Birmingham seems to have decided that the best way forward is by building on what came before. For one, the railroad district is being redeveloped as lofts and art spaces.