"I'm like an archeologist," comments Jim Reed, proprietor of Jim Reed Books and the Museum of Fond Memories
, located on 3rd Avenue North in downtown Birmingham, Ala
. "I am always going out and digging through things, looking for special stuff."
"Looking for, and finding treasures is the fun part."
He adds his shop has rescued a lot of stuff from perdition. While he admits it is sad to see the things he recovered once thrown away, he is very happy to adopted them and give them a second life.
The shop itself is a combination of a book store (Reed says he has books from the 1500s to current titles) and an older relative's (think aunt or grandmother) attic. When you walk in, it might seem a little overwhelming at first, but then you have this sudden urge to start pawing through stuff until you locate something of interest, and then sitting down and getting lost in it.
And Reed sees nothing wrong with that.
"We have people from all over coming in, sitting for the day and reading the love letters here. It's a perfect place for time travelers and collectors. The shop is also ideal for people who want to find a book they can't find elsewhere."
He points out that his shops is the "kind of bookstore he would like to discover when traveling."
Of course, not everything is out in the shop.
“There’s a lot more in storage. No one will see it all, and that’s the way I want it to be. It would be too overwhelming. People need to see everything in increments.”
When it comes to his favorite piece, Reed is quick to say “everything” is his favorite.
Reed Books and the Museum of Fond Memories is one of many sites highlighted in Alabama Road Trip No. 6
, Birmingham: Taking it to the Streets, Downtown
. This is one of many is part of state tourism’s campaign, "100 Alabama Road Trips
The downtown Birmingham itinerary can either be a three-mile daytime walk, or a one-or two-day experience. Other sites mentioned include:
photo credit: personal collection (top left) Jim Reed Books, (middle right) Jim Reed Books, (bottom right) Trio of Praying Ministers sculpture at Kelly Ingram Park