In 1909, at the height of railroad expansion into the Birmingham, Alabama District, five railroads collaborated on the construction of a new passenger station for Birmingham. Designed by renowned Atlanta architect Thornton Marye, Birmingham Terminal Station was hailed as "the great temple of travel," and internationally acclaimed as one of the finest railroad stations in the world.
At its peak, the station handled 52 daily trains, including a number of the finest "all-Pullman" and diesel-powered "streamliners" operating in the country. Yet incredibly, the iconic Byzantine-styled edifice, with its 100-foot high dome and twin towers, was demolished in 1969, an early casualty of the nationwide decline of rail passenger travel. Nearly a half century later, the station's demolition is still decried by many as the greatest loss to Birmingham's architectural heritage, on par with the demolition of New York City's legendary Pennsylvania Station.
Birmingham Terminal Station has long deserved its own book, and Great Temple of Travel provides an authoritative historical account of the station and its trains. More than 200 photographs, largely in color, beautifully illustrate the 70-year history of Birmingham Terminal Company, from the opening of Terminal Station in 1909 to the end of Southern Railway passenger service in 1979. The book's seven chapters detail the station's construction and operation, the trains it served, and the circumstances leading up to its fateful loss.
Printed on luxurious silk matte paper and bound in archival cloth covers wrapped in a colorful laminated jacket, Great Temple of Travel is destined to become a collector's edition as an enduring tribute to Birmingham Terminal Station and its great passenger trains.
Mid-South Media, hardcover with dust jacket, 128 pages, standard portrait book 8 x 10 in., Black-and-White and Color photographs and illustrations.