Monday, March 2, 2015

Hoover Alabama

When people visit Birmingham Alabama, it can be a bit confusing.  To drive around, it would appear to be a large city with a large population.  But looks can be deceiving.

The actual city of Birmingham only has 212,237 people living within the city limits.  But the Birmingham Metro has over 1,000,000 people.  Where are all the others?  They live in the 30 suburbs that completely surround Birmingham causing it to be landlocked.

The largest suburb by far is Hoover.  There are 84,126 people living there.  The second largest is Vestavia Hills with 34,018 in population.  Quite a difference between numbers 1 and 2.

Hoover Alabama sits astraddle two counties located along the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains.  Both Jefferson county and Shelby County Alabama are represented in Hoover.  Hoover is home to the Riverchase Galleria which is one of the largest shopping centers in the southeastern region of the United States.  It is also one of the largest mixed use centers in the entire country.

Many consider Hoover to be the most desirable suburb of Birmingham.  The average price for houses/condo's in the area is $251,300.  That compares favorably to the average sale price for homes in the state which is $123,200 and extremely favorably when you compare it to the average sale price for homes in the city of Birmingham which is $87,700.

The average rental amount for the city of Birmingham is $694.00 while the average rental amount for the city of Hoover is $909.00.

According to the FBI, the average number for crime in the United States is 297.4.  While the city of Birmingham has a number of 769.7 - the city of Hoover's number is 170.9 which means that Hoover is way below the national average for crime according to the FBI.

The city was named after William H. Hoover, a local insurance company owner and was formally founded on April 28, 1967.  Prior to that, it was known as the Green Valley community.  Originally planned as a residential community, commercial growth took off like a rocket after the opening of the Galleria in 1986.  It is now home to several large corporations such as Blue Cross/Blue Shield.

The weather in Hoover is mild to moderate with long hot summers and relatively short mild winters. Since most of the city sits atop a mountain or high hill, the breezes coming through the many trees, makes the summers more than bearable.  Occasionally it sees snowfall but not enough to boast about and when it does, the snow has usually melted before sundown.  Since this is central Alabama, it is humid and there are mountains and a bountiful amount of tall hills.  So when it rains and the temperatures fall at or below freezing, ice can and oftentimes does form on the streets making them practically impassable.  Luckily, that only happens once or twice a year and some years not at all.

The pictures below were taken during the winter of 2013.  Look at all the abandoned vehicles on highway 31 which cuts all the way through Hoover.  This was truly an exception to the rule and everyone was caught off guard.

The scenic beauty of this area is truly amazing.  Mountains, tall hills, deep valleys make driving in this part of the country anything but boring.  Add to that the fact that the residents have long been staunch protectors of the natural beauty and you have a gorgeous place to call home if you live in this area.

There are so many things to see and do that I can't imagine anyone getting bored here.  Lots of extremely well maintained parks, walking trails, hiking trails, boulder parks and of course, Aldridge Gardens.

Aldridge Gardens is named after the Aldridge family who originally owned and developed these gardens as their own private sanctuary.  The family house still stands and is now the visitor's center and offices for the gardens.  Many new forms of roses and especially hydrangeas have been cultivated here.  It's in high demand as a venue for weddings and family reunions.  It's also a wonderful place to sit and read a book while watching the many birds, ducks and other water fowl on the lake.

Another big draw in Hoover is the Lover's Leap hiking trail which boats a diner at the top with extraordinary views.  

Another great hiking and rock climbing park is known as the Moss Rock Preserve and Boulder Field.  Repellers and zip liners love this park.

Around the turn of the last century Hoover (and Birmingham to a lessor extent) was fairly isolated from the rest of the country.  This all changed with the creation of the Brock Gap rail line that cut through the mountains and opened the area up to the railroad.

Hoover is home to one of the finest comparably sized city owned baseball parks in the country.  It was used for years by the Birmingham Barons and was actually where Michael Jordan played his first professional baseball game.

Star Lake is another favorite outdoor spot for people in the area.  It boasts fishing, boating and beautiful sceneries all year long.

Hoover is proud of its veterans and boasts a well maintained and well equipped Veterans Park.

Here's a view of one of the fire towers in the area, complete with the requisite buzzards.

If golfing or visiting a world renowned spa is your idea of fun, Hoover has that as well.  The Hoover country club is first class.  Named after the iconic Ross Bridge (picture below), I don't think anyone will disagree that the Renaissance-Ross Bridge Club Resort is one of our country's finest.  

If fishing or canoeing is your thing, there's always the Cahaba River.  One of the cleanest and most staunchly protected river sections in the country, this river runs through Hoover, parts of Birmingham and through many of the other suburbs of the metro area.  


Add all of this to the exceptional school system and the many theaters, fine eating establishments and other amenities of this city, and Hoover is a great place to call home!