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October 23, 2013

Looking Back: Levinson’s Department Store, c. 1900

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This photograph shows Levinson’s Department Store at the northwest corner of Old Woodward and Maple. Frank Ford, the man behind the famous Ford-Peabody Mansion, also contracted the construction of this building, which became known as the Ford Building. Many Birmingham landmark businesses have been located here, beginning with Levinson’s, which occupied the spot from 1897-1916. The First State Savings Bank of Birmingham followed, adding the limestone façade currently on the front of the building around 1925. After the bank failed in 1935, the space was taken over by the Wilson Drug Co. Wilson’s became the longest-running occupant, lasting for more than 40 years, until 1979. When Wilson’s closed, The Gap retail store moved into the building. The Gap was succeeded in 2001 by the current occupant, the popular restaurant Così.

Through all these years, this Birmingham corner has remained a busy place. Who knows what the next 100 years have in store for the city, but the Ford Building is sure to be at the center of the action.

Source: Elyssa Bisoski, Museum Assistant Birmingham Historical Museum and Park


Do you own a piece of history? Send us your historically significant photos from around town, and we may be able to feature them in an upcoming edition of Looking Back. Email your photos and information to Tiffany Esshaki
at tesshaki@candgnews.com or call (586) 498-1095.