Behind the scenes look at the Steiner Building, one of Birmingham’s oldest structures

The Steiner Building, built 1890. Photo via Nathan Watson for Bham Now

Driving through downtown Birmingham, you’ll often find beautiful buildings of differing architectural styles. One of these buildings is the Steiner Building on the corner of 1st Avenue North and 21st Street North. Learn more.

Fun Facts

The Steiner Building in 1910. Photo courtesy of BhamWiki
  • The building sits on the site of William Nabors’ shop, the first wooden shack built within Birmingham city limits.
  • Harry Wheelock, one of the architects who designed the Steiner Building, went on to found the Rotary Club of Birmingham in 1913.
  • The building housed the first hydraulically-powered elevator in Alabama.
  • During the financial Panic of 1873, the Steiner Bank led efforts to buy Birmingham time to pay its debts. By buying securities from investors and lobbying for a statewide proposal, the Steiner Bank helped Birmingham survive the panic and secure the city’s credit for the future.

History

“Rustication”, a feature of Richardson Romanesque, features rough stone. Almost reminds me of a medieval castle! Photo via Nathan Watson for Bham Now

In 1890, the Steiner Brothers Bank purchased the plot of land formerly owned by William Nabors for $21,760. The bank hired Wheelock & Wheelock, a father and son duo architecture firm, to design the red brick building.

Architects Charles and Harry Wheelock designed the building in the Richardsonian Romanesque style, which drew inspiration from 11th and 12th century French, Spanish and Italian Romanesque features. The style features prominent arches, towers and exposed raw masonry.

The Steiner Bank Building in 1984, with it’s gold-tone aluminum covering. Photo via BhamWiki

After 73 years in the building, the Steiner Brothers Bank relocated their offices in 1963. The building became the new home of the American National Bank, who covered the facade in gold-tone aluminum. In 1979, a group of three Birmingham firms partnered with Birmingham’s Historical Preservation Society to refurbish and restore the building. The group also designed an addition to the side of the building, which nearly doubled its interior space.

Now, the building serves as the headquarters for The Title Group, an agency that represents multiple title insurance companies. Other firms, such as Marcus & Millichap real estate firm, also call the Steiner Building home.

Learn More About Birmingham’s Historic Buildings

The front of the Steiner Building. Photo via Nathan Watson for Bham Now

Want to learn more about Birmingham’s beautiful historic buildings? Check out these previous articles.

Which of Birmingham’s historic buildings would you like to read about next? Tag @bhamnow and let us know!

  • Tennessee native who fell in love with Birmingham during college. Graduated from Birmingham-Southern College in 2019. Passionate about Birmingham and its continued growth.