Things to See: A Stroll Through Downtown Birmingham
(Crystal A. Proxmire, April 13, 2020)
Birmingham, MI – As people throughout Michigan struggle with the impacts of the COVID-19 coronavirus and the social distancing required to keep the infections at bay, a nice walk outside could either be a treat or simply a dream depending on one’s situation.
So Oakland County Times is introducing our “Things to See” series, highlighting the pretty and interesting things we see as we safely get in our steps throughout this beautiful county. Spotting details on walks is a great way to give your brain and your body a temporary break from the worries of contemporary life.
For this walk we focused on Downtown Birmingham.
The area around Maple and Old Woodward was quiet as most of the shops and offices are closed due to the coronavirus. Signs remind people to keep six feet of distance between them, though even on a sunny weekday afternoon there were not many others there. The beautiful window displays are paired with closed signs, and the marquee of the Birmingham Theater tells passers-by, “Be safe.”
If you like shopping, or the buzz professionals, shoppers, visitors, and residents all sharing a busy space, a walk here now may feel strange.
But without the bustle there’s a chance to really enjoy the details.
Many of those fancy window displays are in buildings that have been around for generations. These buildings themselves are treasures, with details not often found in modern construction, like Art Deco doorways, and finely detailed trim.
As an example, the Bell Building, constructed in 1915, stands out due to it’s red paint and blue circled stained glass. Another building has a door handle shaped like an exclamation point! The City has a list of historic buildings for those who may want to see them all.
Another feature in a Downtown Birmingham stroll is the John West Hunter Park, which features a 1822 home that has been relocated within the city a couple of times. The building is closed, but a walk in the little park gives a glimpse of nature, as behind it is a branch of the Rouge River.
More of the river can been seen at Booth Park which is at North Old Woodward and Harmon. The kids’ playscape is off limits, but there is still a large grassy area as well as a trail along the river’s edge where one can feel briefly like they are walking through woods.
Getting fresh air an exercise are important parts of a healthy lifestyle for those who are able to do so. The state is recommending face masks and gloves for those going to public places, as well as keeping six feet of distance from others. There are restrictions in place due to the state’s “Stay home, stay safe” order.
Be sure to check out our Places to Explore list. Some are accessible during the crisis, and others may be an inspiration for down the road.
Things to See: A Stroll Through Downtown Ferndale (April 7, 2020)