Like much other industrial architecture of the time, the Roundhouse was built with steel-reinforced concrete walls and roofs. These provided large open spaces for working on enormous locomotives. A double band of clerestory windows under the elevated central portion of the nearly ﬂat roof washes the twenty-ﬁve engine berths in the spacious interior with natural light. Though the railroad tracks inside the building and the ninety-foot diameter turntable that sat in the semi-circular courtyard outside have been removed, the Spartan character of the cavernous interior remains as a testament to Birmingham’s industrial might during the early twentieth century.
Since 2012 a local teenaged railroad enthusiast, Khari Marquette, has started a Save the Finley Roundhouse group and social media campaign on Facebook. Over the years he garnered support from the Mid-South Chapter of the Rail-way & Locomotive Historical Society, the Jeﬀerson County Historical Commission, and the Jeﬀerson County Historical Association, each of which has endorsed the signiﬁcance of the Finley Roundhouse and recognized the urgent threat caused by its abandonment. Now Marquette is forming a non-proﬁt group to promote the preservation and revitalization of the remarkable reinforced concrete structure, which is one of only two roundhouses left in Birmingham and the largest of its type in Alabama.
For more information on this cathedral of industrial architecture, see Save the Finley Roundhouse on Facebook or contact Khari Marquette at firstname.lastname@example.org.