Rosenberger's Birmingham Trunk

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Rosenberger trunk logo.jpg

Rosenberger's Birmingham Trunk, formerly Rosenberger's Birmingham Trunk Factory, was a family-owned retailer specializing in luggage, leather goods and travel items. The company was founded in Birmingham in January 1897 by J. D. Rosenberger Originally just a manufacturer, located at 315 19th Street North, the company expanded and opened a showroom at 1909 2nd Avenue North in the 1920s.

J. D., who died in 1945, passed the company to his son, Mel. He opened the company's first suburban stores, first experimenting with temporary holiday shops in Homewood and Crestline before opening a full-time showroom at Mountain Brook Village in 1950. The company also opened stores in Roebuck and Eastwood.

Mel's wife, Mae joined the business in 1955 and took over when her husband died in 1971. Mae and her son, Ken operated the business until shortly before her death in June 2010

They opened a third store at Brookwood Village when the mall opened on August 6, 1974. Reigning Miss Alabama Pam Long helped celebrate the store's grand opening by drawing names for luggage sets offered as door prizes.

Rosenberger's opened another location at the Riverchase Galleria in the 1980s. The Galleria store moved to The Summit in 2006.

In January 2013 Ken and his wife, Ann consolidated operations to a smaller showroom adjoining the firm's warehouse at 2712 19th Street South in downtown Homewood. The business closed in February 2017.

Alabama Crimson Tide

As early as 1905, Rosenberger's Birmingham Trunk used a silhouetted image of an elephant with a foot resting on one of its trunks as a logo, often in red.

One version of the origin of the Alabama Crimson Tide's elephant mascot is that J. D. Rosenberger, whose son was then a student at the university, outfitted the 1926 Alabama Crimson Tide football team with red celluloid elephant-shaped "good luck" luggage charms for the train trip to Pasadena, California for the 1927 Rose Bowl. Reporters greeting the team on their arrival took note of the distinctive tags.

When the 1930 team returned to the Rose Bowl, Rosenberger's supplied leather suitcases, paid for by the Alumni Association, for each team member. The firm's association with Alabama football continued into the Bear Bryant era as the legendary coach provided the members of his 1961 championship team with Hartmann cowhide suitcases from Rosenberger's in lieu of rings.