Excelsior Laundry

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Excelsior Laundry in 1924. courtesy BPL Archives

The Excelsior Steam Laundry was a prominent clothes and linen cleaning service in downtown Birmingham from the 1880s to at least the 1920s.

The business was founded by former Birmingham Steam Laundry manager in J. H. Lee around 1885 in the Wright's Building adjoining the Birmingham Post Office at 308-310 19th Street North. During the 1886 Mardi Gras parade, the Excelsior Steam Laundry entered a float parodying the Birmingham Steam Laundry's entry which featured a large reclining figure "fanning away opposition."

The laundry was purchased that same year by Covington, Kentucky native George Blinn Sr, who, along with his son, George Jr reincorporated the business on February 25, 1887.

They moved it to leased space at 1807 2nd Avenue North in 1891. In 1902 they acquired ownership of that building and the adjoining property at 1805 2nd Avenue. They remodeled the facade and rechristened it as the Excelsior Laundry Building

In 1905 George Blinn Jr invited his brother-in-law, James Donnelly, a former manager at Proctor & Gamble who had retired at age 43, to come to Birmingham and join him in the laundry and other business enterprises.

The Excelsior Laundry Building was demolished for expansion of the New Ideal department store before 1942.