The Bluff Park and Shades Cliff Community Center

In light of tonight’s meeting concerning the future of the Bluff Park Community Center, #TBTHistory with BluffParkAL is posting a little early.  Today, we look back to a phone directory and foldout.  This is where the Bluff Park and Shades Cliff Community Center started.  Read more about tonight’s meeting from the Hoover Sun here.

Let’s Go Back

“In the past 10 years, our area population has increased from 400 families to 1,500 families.  In any area such as ours, there must be some organized, non-partisan, incorporated civic organization that can act on behalf of its citizens, and assume financial responsibility for various community needs and undertakings.  This is the function of your Shades Cliff Civic Club, Inc. “

These words are from a 1956 Shades Cliff and Bluff Park Directory distributed by the Shades Cliff Civic Club to the area.  At the time, the area of Bluff Park and much of Shades Mountain was unincorporated.  A message from the civic club explains the advantages and disadvantages of living in an unincorporated area.  One advantage they offer is that “no one can force us to do anything we do not wish to do.”  On the other hand, one of the disadvantages is that “there is no way to make anyone do their part, or even pay their share for various civic functions and expenses.  In view of these facts, all that remains is to appeal to each person’s sense of fairness and responsibility.”  

The Shades Cliff Civic Club was established in 1939 and gave the community here on the mountain organized leadership.  The civic club is responsible for the volunteer fire department in Bluff Park and fire plug installation, bus service to the area, city water, paved roads and telephone rate reductions.  We will talk about the Tremont numbers found in the directory soon, but if want to do a little reading about telephone exchanges, check out this article from Mental Floss.

While this is only a short, small look at the civic club, it shows the heart of the community before there was a city of Hoover to help plan and build or rebuild.  It was simply a community effort through the leadership of the civic club.

Foldout from the Shades Cliff Civic Club showing the plans and drawings of the future community center.  By 1959, the community center was complete and the civic club began raising funds for a community swimming pool.  Courtesy of the Copeland/Hale family, in care of Heather Skaggs.
The Bluff Park and Shades Cliff Community Center was eventualy leased to the city of Hoover for 99 years and that lease is still active today.  The Bluff Park Community Center, February 2018. Courtesy of
The Present.  Investing in the community.  Courtesy of the Copeland/Hale family, in care of Heather Skaggs.

As we enter the meeting tonight to discuss the future of our community center and park, let us not forget where it came from.  @BluffParkAl .org will Livestream the meeting.


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