William Nabers shop

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William Nabers' shop
another view of Nabers' shop

William Nabers shop was a wood-frame barn-type structure with split board siding and roofing. It was constructed in 1869 by William Nabers on what became 1st Avenue North near the southeast corner of its intersection with 21st Street after the city of Birmingham was platted. The cabin was used as a meeting place during the surveying and staking of the city's streets and lots. Nabers, who sold the original parcel on which the city was built to the Elyton Land Company, became a shareholder in the venture and retained many choice lots, from which he earned an income.

The building was never a residence. Nabers had a fine large house in Nabers' Grove in what became Southside which had hosted numerous meetings of the officers and agents of the Elyton Company. Nevertheless, a photograph of the primitive wood shack on desolate ground, with wagon wheels and a ladder propped up on the outside walls, was widely reproduced with captions identifying it as the "first house built in Birmingham".

The building survived and was reused as a wagon-wheel works and a blacksmith shop by the Abel family. The Louisville & Nashville Railroad made brief use of it in 1887 as a tool shed before it was sold to Z. T. Partain who also operated a smithy.

The Steiner Brothers Bank purchased the house and its 25-by-100 foot lot on January 15, 1890 for $21,760, demolished the cabin, and began construction of the Steiner Building on the corner of 1st Avenue North and 21st Street.

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