The area now known as Highland Park neighborhood, conveniently located less than two miles south of downtown Birmingham, was originally densely forested. It began to be developed when its central artery, Highland Avenue, was carved out by the Elyton Land Company, the original developer of the city of Birmingham, through the hilly contours of the land at the base of Red Mountain to make way for a streetcar line to the nearby resort of Lakeview Park.
It winds through the entire length of the neighborhood overlooking three parks nestled into its curves, which are below street level with steep hillsides that slope down to the bottom, allowing anyone on Highland Avenue to view the parks from above. The curvilinear nature of the avenue, which avoids the grid pattern so prevalent in many cities, gives rise to many streets which are not straight (including two characteristic ‘crescents,’ Milner and Lakeview, which are true crescents), and which add to the neighborhood’s visual appeal. Many of these streets are variously sloped, enabling people driving, cycling, or walking around the neighborhood to have many fine views and vistas. The area still has a thick tree cover which is visually pleasing, provides a heat shield, and encourages a great deal of outdoor activity.