Birmingham City Hall (1901)

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Birmingham City Hall, c. 1909
For other Birmingham City Hall buildings, see Birmingham City Hall (disambiguation).

The Birmingham City Hall (1901) was built in 1901 on the same site as the First Birmingham City Hall, the southeast corner of 4th Avenue North and 19th Street, Block 73.

In addition to municipal offices, the building housed the Birmingham Fire Department, a National Guard unit, the first Birmingham Public Library and several retail spaces. It also housed a gymnasium that was opened for public recreation. Contractor for the $200,000 project was Henry Stockmar, who returned to the building as a member of the Birmingham Board of Aldermen as soon as it opened.

The "Council Chambers", used by the Birmingham Board of Aldermen until 1913 and thereafter by the new Birmingham City Commission for public meetings, originally occupied the 3rd floor, and later moved to the 2nd floor. A City Market operated on the ground floor of the building, at 1909-1913 4th Avenue North. In 1923-1925 it was managed by T. B. Tanner and J. M. Stewart.

The building was damaged by a fire in 1925, which destroyed the library and caused irreparable damage to the central tower. It was proposed that year that the city acquire Block 20, west of Woodrow Wilson Park as the site for a new City Hall and an option was placed to buy that block for $1,051,590.75, but was made contingent on selling the former site for $1,750,000.00 or more. The highest offer brought to the City Commission was $1,600,000.00, made by a syndicate of "real estate men" just days before the option expired and after the Commission had already engaged the Inglenook Construction Company to repair the older building.

Space in the Martin Office Building was provided for the city while repairs were made. The library relocated to a new building at Woodrow Wilson Park in 1927.

Another fire which broke out shortly after midnight on June 23, 1944, caused heavy damage to the fourth floor, housing the offices of the city comptroller and city engineer. Twenty companies responded to the blaze, which sent flames high into the air. Commissioner of Public Safety Bull Connor stated that the police radio, the antenna for which was on the roof of the building, was restored to service within an hour of the fire being successfully brought under control.

The 1901 building, without its tower and attic levels, continued to house city offices until 1950 when a new Birmingham City Hall was completed across from the Jefferson County Courthouse at Wilson Park. Its cornerstone was removed and stacked with previous ones adjacent to the south entrance of the new building. The vacant building was demolished in January 1952.