Published October 23, 2013
Looking Back: Levinson’s Department Store, c. 1900
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
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