National Park Service Adds Edmonton Heights to National Register of Historic Places
Published on June 28, 2021
On June 21, the National Park Service officially designated Edmonton Heights as a historic district listed to the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP). Edmonton Heights is the ninth historic district in the City of Huntsville to be listed to the NRHP.
“We are pleased to officially add Edmonton Heights to the list of Huntsville’s historic neighborhoods,” said Mayor Tommy Battle. “It is rewarding to see the National Park Service also recognize the significance of this important area in our community.”
Located northeast of downtown Huntsville and platted in 1958, Edmonton Heights is a residential neighborhood that was a planned suburb for African Americans and provided housing options for those who lost their homes as a result of Huntsville’s Urban Renewal program, the Heart of Huntsville. The development of this neighborhood illustrates the effects of post-war growth, Urban Renewal and racial discrimination in federal and local housing policy on the African American community.
“The research gathered through the survey and National Register listing of Edmonton Heights has been a catalyst for identifying and documenting historic places that are significant to Huntsville’s African American community,” said City Preservation Planner Katie Stamps. “We will build on this foundation through the upcoming survey of Magnolia Terrace and other historic sites.”
In 2018, the City of Huntsville and Huntsville Historic Preservation Commission (HHPC) received Certified Local Government grant funding from the Alabama Historical Commission (AHC) to conduct a historic resource survey of Edmonton Heights, which had been identified by the AHC and City for potential historical significance. With support funding from the Edmonton Heights Neighborhood Association, Normal Historic Preservation District Association and Historic Huntsville Foundation, Dr. Caroline Swope, principal at Kingstree Studios, was hired to conduct the survey, finding the neighborhood to be eligible for listing on the NRHP. The following year, Dr. Swope was hired to complete the National Register nomination, which was approved by the Alabama National Register Review Board in April 2021. From there, the nomination was sent to the NPS for final approval.
“We are looking beyond downtown to recognize places of historical significance,” said HHPC Chairman Frank Nola. “Edmonton Heights is filled with rich history, unique architecture and has made lasting impacts on our community.”
Edmonton Heights is notable for its architecture, predominately intact post World War II era housing, and as a representative example of a housing development by Folmar and Flinn, one of the largest speculative building companies in the South at the time. Edmonton Heights is the most well-preserved of the African American neighborhoods established by Folmar and Flinn in Alabama.
“The Edmonton Heights neighborhood retains significant integrity in original design, setting, materials and workmanship,” said Dr. Swope. “These components come together to create a strong sense of place which is still tangible within the neighborhood and contributes to a high degree of integrity of feeling.”