1941 Bessemer City Hall

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This article is about the 1941 Bessemer City Hall. See Bessemer City Hall (disambiguation) for other city hall buildings.
Bessemer City Hall in February 2010
Bessemer City Hall, c. 1945

Bessemer City Hall, located at 1800 3rd Avenue North, is the seat of government for the City of Bessemer. It was constructed between 1938 and 1941 by the Works Progress Administration on the site of the former 1889 Bessemer City Hall, which was destroyed by fire.

The Art Deco-style building is clad in brick with limestone trim. It was built in two phases. The earliest part which opened in 1941 consisted of the easternmost three bays, including the limestone entrance on 3rd Avenue North, and spaces designed for retail tenants at street level.

Before 1947 the three western bays, including a Bessemer City Auditorium and a tall square clock tower at the corner of 18th Street, were added. The old clock, from the 1890 Bessemer City Hall, was re-installed on the new tower.

The building suffered minor damage from a package bomb which exploded in the office of Public Safety Commissioner Max Williams on May 2, 1979.

Brown fabric awnings were installed later over the entrances to the auditorium and lobby.

In 2012 the Bessemer City Council began evaluating the Zeigler building and the former 1st Presbyterian Church Bessemer as possibilities for relocating city hall, which was described as being "in deplorable state." A new Bessemer City Hall was completed a block south in 2016. In 2019 the Bessemer City Council approved the sale of the 1941 building to Scott Crawford Inc. of Milwaukee, Wisconsin for $200,000. Company founder Que El-Amin plans to partner with Cardinal Capital Management, Montgomery Martin Communications, and LifeTagger to redevelop the building with retail space on the ground floor and 60 apartments above.

References

  • Guge, Brett & Danny Ausbun (May 2, 1979) "Bomb in mail rocks Bessemer City Hall; lieutenant killed, two city officials hurt." The Birmingham News
  • Burnett, Jason (February 4, 2007) "Bessemer City Hall" Historic Downtown Bessemer
  • Norris, Toraine (May 15, 2012) "Bessemer council authorizes mayor to explore purchasing church for new city hall." The Birmingham News
  • West, Ty (April 19, 2019) "Developer eyes mixed-use project in downtown Bessemer." Birmingham Business Journal