Days Gone By - stories from the past

This is what once stood at 1st Avenue and 19th street in Birmingham [vintage pictures & film]

A parking deck at 1st Avenue and 19th street now stands on the site of where the magnificent Morris Hotel stood. The Morris Hotel and Morris Avenue in Birmingham, Alabama are named for one of the city’s founders, Josiah Morris.

Morris Hotel ca. 1900 (Birmingham Public Library)

Morris_Hotel 2

Second to no business house in the whole South

Morris hired architect Eduoard Sidel to build an office building “second to no business house in the whole South in architectural finish and completeness in design.” Construction started in 1888 and after solving some problems with the foundation, the Birmingham Trust & Savings Company moved into the building where they remained until 1901. Two circular balconies extended out over 19th Street, and a 2000-piece Belgian glass skylight enhanced its beautiful design.

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Morris Hotel ca. 1910 (Birmingham Public Library)

Morris hotel1

When a fire destroyed the first hotel in Birmingham, the Caldwell Hotel, in the summer of 1894, Morris converted the top floors of the Morris Building to hotel rooms. Two circular balconies extended out over 19th Street, and a 2000-piece Belgian glass skylight added to its beautiful design.

Morris Hotel ca. 1908 (Birmingham Public Library)

Morris_Hotel_1st_Avenue_and_19th_Street 1908

Later the building was leased by C. H. Nabb and converted entirely into a hotel. The 2185 square-foot dining room, the El Dorado, was the known as the finest in the South.

Morris Hotel ca. 1947 with a 7Up sign at the top (Birmingham Public Library)Morris_Hotel_exterior_with_7Up_sign ca. 1947

The hotel was demolished in the 1960s and a parking deck is on the site.

Biographies of Notable and Not-so-Notable Alabama Pioneers Vol. III  see names of biographies by clicking on the link

The biographies of the Alabamians in this book come from many sources. A good deal of the information comes from source books written when the subjects were still living. Additional information and/or documentation on any of the subjects have been included at the end of each biography. Check out all Alabama Pioneers Biography books.

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About Donna R Causey

Donna R. Causey, resident of Alabama, was a teacher in the public school system for twenty years. When she retired, Donna found time to focus on her lifetime passion for historical writing. She developed the websites www.alabamapioneers and All her books can be purchased at and Barnes & Noble. She has authored numerous genealogy books. RIBBON OF LOVE: A Novel Of Colonial America (TAPESTRY OF LOVE) is her first novel in the Tapestry of Love about her family where she uses actual characters, facts, dates and places to create a story about life as it might have happened in colonial Virginia. Faith and Courage: Tapestry of Love (Volume 2) is the second book and the third FreeHearts: A Novel of Colonial America (Book 3 in the Tapestry of Love Series) Discordance: The Cottinghams (Volume 1) is the continuation of the story. . For a complete list of books, visit Donna R Causey

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  1. Jason Nance

    I really hate seeing beautiful architecture like this destroyed for a “parking garage”.. SMH

  2. Holly Green

    I agree with Jason, so sad.

  3. Faye Sheffield

    Many gorgeous old buildings in Mobile Al. were torn down for parking lots! That makes me so angry! What a waste! This building in Birmingham was spectacular!

  4. Mary Lee

    Would have been nice to see this today. What shape was it in when torn down? When was it torn down?

    1. Alabama Pioneers

      Click on the picture or link and you will see more pictures of it through the years.

  5. Cindy Hammett Henderson

    Sad it’s no longer there……

  6. Charles Barton

    I’m from Birmingham and I do not remember this building.

  7. Sue Lucas DeBoer

    I do not remember this either,must have been early 1900’s

    1. Alabama Pioneers

      Yes, it was one of the first large buildings in 1900s. Click on the link to see more pictures and info. about it.

  8. Dave Mosley

    Over the years, City Planners in Birmingham have a reputation of destroying classic architecture, ie: the Birmingham Train Terminal among others. It seems to me that greed is more important that our City’s history.

  9. Cheryl Spaulding McLelland

    Wow ! Who knew? Sad it’s gone now.

  10. Alabama Pioneers

    The same corner in 2015

    1. Faye Sheffield

      Yuck! So unattractive! Cheapens the look of this corner!!!!

  11. Judy Womble

    Wow what a sad difference in then and now.

  12. Wanda Whisenant Thrasher

    What a gorgeous building! I didn’t know this. It has always been a parking deck when I worked downtown.

  13. Debbie Shirey

    Shame, shame. Wish it could still be seen in that majestic state.

  14. Had relatives who resided in the Morris Hotel (Room 314) till it was razed. He worked at the L&N office across the street, she taught school at the Paul Hayne School. May happy memories of visits there. Street cars ran by all day and night and we could watch the sparks as they crossed the intersection. Was entertained by the elevator operators in the old cage type elevators who would ride us up and down whenever we asked. I well remember the big 7-UP sign atop the bldg. Also remember that the streets in downtown had metal inserts driven into the pavement at crosswalks and they had the 7-UP logo on them. They moved to the old Ridgely Apartment Bldg when the hotel was razed.

    1. I was born there in 1929 and as a young child I still remember riding the street cars from that corner out to East Lake. The street cars would almost rock me to sleep.

  15. We have a picture of construction workers (pipe fitters?) dated July 25,1907 at the Morris Hotel in Birmingham, AL. Someone could probably identify the men…,

  16. Sean Donald

    Now its just a Memory.

  17. Gloria Hanaway

    Oh, well I can see why that had to go. 🙁

  18. Johnny Penuel

    Guess they wanted the SS Bldg there…..

  19. Debbie Wood

    Did not know this. Parked in the parking deck in the early 70s when I worked at what was then City National Bank. Such a beautiful building!!!

  20. Bebe Heasley Packard

    They took Paradise and put up a parking lot!

  21. Billie Joyce Petty

    I worked across the street in 1950 in the Stallings building.

  22. Ted Kittle

    i got a token with same address. j.l chalifoux & co.

  23. Glenn Knight

    Oh how great it would be if it was still there and restored!!!

  24. Yvita Luckie

    That is a beautiful building and I’m sorry to hear it didn’t survive. This new stuff is just ugly.

  25. Wanda Bachelor Collins

    You know we “America ” just tears down anything old,

  26. William Armour

    All those power lines, no cars, horse and buggy

  27. Mike Peek

    Leave it to Birmingham to tear down something this grand for a parking deck.

  28. Terry Morton

    So this beautiful place was torned down? Geniuses planning and putting something else I assume.

  29. Mark Evan White

    We as a society in murica are void of proper respect and appreciation for greatness and quality it seems.
    Examples of this sad fact are everywhere in our history

  30. Gary Horton

    Parking garage or ugly modern concrete monsters

  31. Yvita Luckie

    So much prettier than the garbage they build these days.

  32. Lori Anna Dearden

    So sad this was torn down.

  33. Clem Clapp

    Gotta have a place to park our cars. Apparently, the place wasn’t worth saving in light of what was needed in that location.

  34. Joanna Miller Lucia

    Birmingham always destroys history

  35. Judy Tolbert

    So many re homeless people can park and look be out of cars, or set up tents. Could have turned this into homes , for the homeless.

    1. Michael Hodge Harwood

      Judy Tolbert there are far to many homeless in America today. Pay to rent, home mortgages are not in line for an average worker. To many good people are living out of their cars.

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