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

  2. I agree with Jason, so sad.

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

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

  5. Sad it’s no longer there……

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

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

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

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

  10. The same corner in 2015

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

  11. Wow what a sad difference in then and now.

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

  13. 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. Now its just a Memory.

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

  18. Guess they wanted the SS Bldg there…..

  19. 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. They took Paradise and put up a parking lot!

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

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

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

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

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

  26. All those power lines, no cars, horse and buggy

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

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

  29. 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. Parking garage or ugly modern concrete monsters

  31. So much prettier than the garbage they build these days.

  32. So sad this was torn down.

  33. 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. Birmingham always destroys history

  35. 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. 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.

  36. Birmingham is constantly going backward trying to get ahead … much like the rest of the state

    1. Mark Thomas nobody is begging you to stay sir.

    2. Luke Tomberlin Nor you, in fact I see you’ve already vacated the state. If enough stupid is removed, the rest of us could have enjoyable safe lives.

    3. Mark Thomas Not Huntsville! We are very progressive!

    4. Orville McMillan Isn’t Tommy Battle still the mayor in Huntsville … and doesn’t the economy of Huntsville still dependent of both space and weapons? “Progressive” is a subjective term.

    5. Mark Thomas The economy of Huntsville is deversified. It used to depend on the Arsenal, but we have many manufacturers in the Huntsville area with more moving in. Tommy Battle is still mayor and doing a good job.


    1. Wait…are we tired of being backward and stupid, or are we just tired of people pointing it out. lol.

    2. Johnnie Parker Gorham Sweet and wonderful big hearted people, that is Alabama❤ I am blessed to have been born and raised there! People be hating–just ignore their stupidity

    3. Lucy Jackson Good!

  38. Does anyone know what year it was torn down?

    1. Frances Simmons Hughes the same year it burnt down !

    2. According to the article, it was torn down in the 60’s.

    3. Thanks, Wendy, I did read the article after I asked the question.☺ I thought I remembered seeing part of the demolition of the hotel as a child. And I did. (My memory isn’t entirely gone, although I do worry about it now and then.☺)

  39. What a shame. I dont understand why they want to destroy history. Very sad.

  40. It was so pretty. We need more parking decks, ha

    1. Theresa Layfield Powell bring back the trolley!

  41. “Don’t it always seem to go.”

  42. Such a beautiful building. Why did Birmingham have so many hotels?

  43. Well, that would be nice to still have around! An interesting architectural structure…

  44. Beautiful building…such a shame to have lost it.

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