Cobb Lane Apartments
The Cobb Lane Apartments or Cobb Lane Shops (originally Levert Apartments) are a pair of 2-story brick veneered apartment buildings at 1314–1318 20th Street South in Birmingham's Five Points South neighborhood. They were constructed around 1909 by the Levert family of New Orleans, Louisiana.
Wheelock, Joy & Wheelock architects, likely with S. Scott Joy as lead, designed the apartments with nods to the Craftsman and Prairie styles, with deep roof overhangs extending over framed window bays, inset glazed tiles in the brick, and an ornamented cornice separating grade-level commercial spaces facing 20th street from the apartment balconies above.
Basement areas in both buildings are accessible from Cobb Lane, and have housed commercial uses since the 1910s. The two buildings are connected by a covered walkway supported on Greek Doric columns. In 1911 there was a playhouse along the alley behind the apartments.
Pianist Laura Davids conducted piano lessons from her apartment at 1318 20th Street South in 1915. The Argus Club, a literary and sewing circle organized in 1928, met at the Cobb Lane Apartments.
Virginia Cobb moved her children's clothing store and tea room from Cliff Road to the basement of the south building in the 1940s. At that time the alley itself was used as a trash dump. She labored to clean it up and her business evolved into the successful Cobb Lane Restaurant by 1948. She renovated the apartment buildings in 1959.
The alley was officially renamed "Cobb Lane" in her honor when it was renovated with grants from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the National Endowment for the Humanities in 1982.
- Ground floor (facing 20th Street South):
- 1314: Magic City Mercantile (Erwin Franklin & Ivan Williams April 2022–), former location of Select My Space (2011)
- 1318: Malia Lash Studio, former location of Virginia Cobb Co. clothiers / The Dutch Shop knitting shop / Southern Toy Co. / The Doll House toys / Home & Hearth household goods / Bob Mitchell Studio photography / Suttle Flower Shop / Vail Piano Studio (1953), Scottish Town Piper (1997), Five Points Chiropractic Clinic (2008), Mad Doctor Game Shop (Robert Juneau & Nathan Kifer 2012–2015)
- Basement (facing Cobb Lane):
- 1318 (north building): Blue Monkey Lounge, former location of Ye Olde Beefeater Tavern On-The-Lane (O. W. & Steve Clayton 1970–1979), La Vieille Taverne (1979-1986), Franco's (late 1980s), Moneer's and Basil's (Cynthia Hollingsworth)
- 1318 (south building): former location of Cobb's Corner Cupboard (Virginia Cobb 1948–1980s), Cobb Lane Restaurant (1980s-2009) and Cobb Lane Gallery, Delta Blues Hot Tamales (Adam Freis 2015–2020)
- Bowsher, Alice M. & Ann M. Burkhardt (September 8, 1982) "Five Points South Historic District." National Register of Historic Places nomination form