- This article is about the 1903 Title Guarantee building, for the offices of the Land Title Mortgage Company, see Family Reserve Insurance building.
The Title Guarantee Loan & Trust Building is a 9-story, 120-foot-tall office building constructed in 1903 at 2028-2030 3rd Avenue North, on the corner of 21st Street across from the Jefferson County Courthouse by the Title Guarantee Loan & Trust Company. It was designed by architect William Weston and built by T. C. Thompson & Brothers.
The Title Guarantee Building was, after the Woodward Building, only the city's second steel-framed "skyscraper". The owners boasted that the only wood used in the construction was for flooring. It was also the first building to provide tenants with electric power, from its own generators. Fresh water was pumped from a well drilled below the foundations.
The frame was clad in brown brick, laid with recessed courses on the second and upper floors to evoke rusticated stone. The paired double-hung windows are surmounted by brick jack-arches and the ground floor is embellished with brown terra-cotta in a subdued Renaissance revival motif with a round-arched entranceway at the center.
The building was the home of the first "First Order" Weather Bureau station in Birmingham. It also housed the Birmingham Sunday School Association, the Peddinghaus Studio portrait photographers, the Silver Pheasant Tea Room, and the first professional offices of architect David O. Whilldin (Room 711). Another architect, William Spink, shared an office with his daughter, Marguerite, in Room 812 in 1909.
The deep cornice was removed in 1956.
In 1983 the building was purchased out of bankruptcy by John Lauriello, Neal Andrews Jr and David Johnson. Over the next two years, with assistance provided by the city and federal government coordinated through Operation New Birmingham, the exterior and interior were cleaned and restored as closely as possible to the original appearance. Moody & Associates provided design work for the renovations, carried out by Charles & Vinzant Construction Company.
Following the remodeling, the ground floor was occupied by First Commercial Bank. Later it housed Safari Cup coffee shop (2002-2009) and O'Carr's delicatessen (2010). The building is presently the home of Southpace Properties, which erected a neon sign on the corner in 2011.
- White, Marjorie Longenecker (1977) Downtown Birmingham: Architectural and Historical Walking Tour Guide. Birmingham: Birmingham Historical Society.
- Bowsher, Alice Meriwether, Philip A. Morris & Marjorie Longenecker (1990) Cinderella Stories: Transformations of Historic Birmingham Buildings. Birmingham: Birmingham Historical Society.