Birmingham in Jefferson County, Alabama — The American South (East South Central)
The Tutwiler Hotel/The Tutwiler-Ridgely Rebirth
The Tutwiler Hotel
In 1913, George Gordon Crawford, President of Tennessee Coal, Iron and Railroad Company, complained to Robert Jemison Jr., that when friends and officers from U.S. Steel came to town they had no decent place to stay. Immediately, Jemison challenged Crawford to join him in making the dream of a luxury hotel in Birmingham a realty. While Crawford assumed the duties of president of the new company, Jemison and W.P.G. Harding, President of the First National Bank, set out to secure the mortgage for the hotel. At Harding's suggestion, they approached Major Edward Magruder Tutwiler. Major Tutwiler agreed to underwrite the first mortgage bonds. Then he added, "If agreeable, I wish they could call the hotel... The Tutwiler." Hence the "Tutwiler" brand was born. The Tutwiler opened its doors on June 15, 1914. More than 8,000 turned out in formal attire to see the newly-proclaimed "Grand Dame of Southern Hotels." For the next 60 years, The Tutwiler was the hub of Birmingham's business, social, and political circles. Hundreds of celebrities, politicians, and dignitaries walked through
The Tutwiler-Ridgely Rebirth
In the early 1970's, Birmingham, like many other cities, viewed the improved health of its downtown as best represented in new construction and high-rise office buildings. Thus, the Tutwiler again made history in 1974, when it was one of the first major buildings in the country to be razed by "implosion," making room for the First Alabama Bank Building. A few blocks away the eight-story Ridgely Apartments, at 21st Street and 6th Avenue, was financed and owned by Major Tutwiler and completed in April 1914. The Ridgely operated as a luxury apartment building and in 1985 was 72 years old. Like many other fine buildings of its era, it had lost its utility as an apartment building. The Ridgely-Tutwiler rebirth was initiated by the great-grandson of Major Tutwiler, Temple Tutwiler III, who in early 1985 advanced the idea of the transformation to a hotel also named The Tutwiler. The original apartments yielded 148 spacious guest rooms, with 13 different room layouts per floor. Thus, the Tutwiler legacy continues today "better than ever!"
Erected 2014 by Jefferson County Historical Association.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Notable Buildings.
Location. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 2021 Park Place, Birmingham AL 35203, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Birmingham Public Library / The Linn - Henley Research Library (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Jefferson County Courthouses (about 500 feet away); Temple Wilson Tutwiler, II / Tutwiler Hotel (approx. 0.2 miles away); Clark Building (approx. 0.2 miles away); Jefferson County Courthouse Site (approx. ¼ mile away); Title Building (approx. ¼ mile away); Concord Center (approx. ¼ mile away); Civil Rights Freedom Riders (approx. ¼ mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Birmingham.
Also see . . . Hampton Inn & Suites Birmingham-Downtown-Tutwiler. (Submitted on February 1, 2017.)
Credits. This page was last revised on October 27, 2018. It was originally submitted on October 7, 2016, by Pat Filippone of Stockton, California. This page has been viewed 378 times since then and 46 times this year. Last updated on November 2, 2016, by Byron Hooks of Sandy Springs, Georgia. Photos: 1. submitted on October 8, 2016, by Pat Filippone of Stockton, California. 2. submitted on October 7, 2016, by Pat Filippone of Stockton, California. 3, 4. submitted on October 8, 2016, by Pat Filippone of Stockton, California. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.