Walter Agee residence
The Walter Agee residence (called the Rucker-Agee House on the National Register, and Rucker Place by its current owners) is a 6,500 square-foot shingle-style house at 1804 12th Avenue South on the Five Points South neighborhood. It was constructed in 1900 as a wedding gift for grain merchant Walter Agee and his fiance Louise Rucker by her father, General Edmund Rucker, a veteran of the Civil War who settled in Birmingham in the 1880s and developed the Nabob Hill neighborhood of the Town of Highland, on which Ramsay High School was later built.
The Agee residence is Birmingham's sole example of the "shingle style" of architecture, characterized by continuous horizontal banding, grouped windows, and flowing spaces. The surface of the house is "stretched" in order to accommodate interior functions, and the flowing surface is clad with flexible shingles rather than boarding.
The Agees occupied the house until the mid 1950s, raising their five children there. It was then purchased by J. Clayton Davie who converted it into a professional office for his medical practice.
In 1986, the house was added to the National Register of Historic Places.
In 2002 the house was sold to Gail Thompson and her husband Jack for $425,000. They renovated and remodeled the home for use as a reception hall. Handicapped ramps, fire protection and restroom facilities were added, as well as a new sound system and a glass wall to enclose the rear porch. The renovations were designed by Fuller and Thompson Architects, with assistance from historic preservation consultant Linda Nelson, and executed by contractor Kenneth Schatz. The restored home hosted its first event, a 40-person catered dinner for the Alabama Credit Union, on April 25, 2003. Executive chef Richard Bishop also ran Savoie Catering from the Rucker Place kitchen.
Under the Thompson's management, Rucker Place was open for public tours on Thursday afternoons and hosted "Jazz on the Porch" on Thursday evenings. Beginning in Spring 2007, high tea was served on Tuesday afternoons. The house and lawn could be rented for weddings, receptions and special events. The house had three guest rooms available, including a honeymoon suite.
In 2021 the property was sold for $1.22 million to Tyler Lyne and Timothy Owens, operators of the Tasting TBL supper club. They planned to operate several dining options, including a traditional restaurant and bar, a "members only" floor, a late-night bar, an al fresco event space, a patisserie, a café, a catering business and a delivered meals, all served from one main kitchen. Planned renovations included widening some of the house's wraparound porches to increase outdoor dining capacity.
- Adams, Cathy (2002) "A Southside sojourn: One couple restores an architectural gem." Portico.
- Zganjar, Leslie (December 6, 2002) "This old house gets a new life – and livelihood." Birmingham Business Journal
- "May the spirit be with you." (January 2, 2004) Birmingham Business Journal
- Cooper, Lauren B. (October 15, 2010) "Rucker Place chef to launch catering service from historic Southside venue." Birmingham Business Journal
- Van der Bijl, Hanno (May 5, 2021) "Historic event venue in Five Points South sells for $1M." Birmingham Business Journal
- Van der Bijl, Hanno (May 12, 2021) "New restaurant concept planned for historic Rucker Place." Birmingham Business Journal
- Byington, Pat (May 12, 2021) "New owners to transform Historic Rucker Place into an original restaurant experience." Bham Now
- Historic Rucker Place website