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From the Birmingham History Center Collection
Fox Grocery Building 1895 Date Block

William F. Aldrich

Fox Grocery building 19th Street and 4th avenue across
from city hall.


riginally from England, John Fox settled with his wife in Ontario, Canada before bringing his family to Birmingham sometime in the late 1880s. He opened his first grocery close to the Alice Furnace while his three sons, John George, David James, and William Thomas, briefly worked in the furnace. By 1887, the family relocated their grocery store, then called "John Fox’s Sons Groceries," to a building on Third Avenue and Nineteenth Street. During this time, the family enjoyed success, and John’s son, David, became involved in city politics. David Fox was elected Birmingham’s 9th mayor in 1893 for one, year–long term.

In 1895, one year after David’s term as mayor ended, the family built the Fox Building, and their store became Birmingham’s largest grocery store. The brick, three story, late Victorian-style commercial building was built on the corner of Nineteenth Street and Fourth Avenue, across from Birmingham’s City Hall at the time. Its location was on the edge of the city’s commercial and residential districts, with the residential areas being north and commercial being south. John Fox’s Sons Groceries would operate from this location until 1910, after which time it was occupied by multiple businesses ranging from a meat market, to a barber shop, to a shoe store. The second floor contained the offices of the Birmingham Business College. The third floor, knows as "Third Loft" or "Fox Hall," was rented to community groups for meetings, concerts, and religious services throughout the life of the building. In fact, today’s Palisades Church of Christ rented the space for services for almost 15 years beginning in 1897.


Date block from the Fox Grocery building.

This piece of the Fox Grocery Building façade was donated to the Birmingham History Center Collection by Guin Robinson in 2007. This particular piece would have been visible from the Nineteenth Street side of the building, with the name of the building on the Fourth Avenue side. Despite strong local efforts to preserve it, the Fox Building was demolished in 1981. At the time, it was one of only a handful of Birmingham’s early commercial buildings still standing. Today it is the site of the One Federal Place office building.

To support our efforts and follow our progress in sharing and preserving Birmingham’s history, please consider a one-year, free trial membership to Vulcan Park and Museum. Contact Elizabeth Choy via Email or call 205‑933‑1409 x111.


Channel 6 promotional photo for the Bennie Carle show.


Message from Khari Marquette:

Khari Marquette describing the Save The Finley Roundhouse Organization with Alice McSpadden Williams.

Khari Marquette describing the Save The Finley Roundhouse Organization with Alice McSpadden Williams.


ood evening everyone, I would just like to let y’all know that–IT’S OFFICIAL! I am going off to college in Georgia. I will attend the Georgia State University School of Music in Atlanta, GA for the 2018–2019 semester and I will pursue a Bachelor of Music degree (Piano Performance) and I will work my way up to major in Jazz Studies and Composition and will pursue a Master of Music degree in the years coming during my tenure at Georgia State University. I will be an official member of the GSU Class of 2022. I encourage you all to keep me in your thoughts and prayers that I achieve well at GSU. I will leave Birmingham on Labor Day and will begin my classes on the 4th of September.

Thank you all for supporting my mission to get into the GSU School of Music, and also a great thanks for supporting my quest to rescue history here in saving the Finley Roundhouse, as for you all have devoted time in creating the organization that will oversee not just MY vision, but everyone’s vision for the future of the most historic railroad relic in Birmingham–the Finley Roundhouse. You all have been good allies. We have a lot of more work to do in the long-term, but we will get there by faith and perseverance.

Again, thank you all very much. We will be in touch and we’ll continue the business of Save The Finley Roundhouse when I get anchored into GSU.

Khari Marquette President, Save The Finley Roundhouse
(205) 598-5558




Jefferson County Historical Association Books

historic birmingham & jefferson county

Historic Birmingham
and Jefferson County
By James R. Bennett
$30 (member discount)

The History of Jefferson County Before 1850

The History of Jefferson County Before 1850
By Will F. Franke, edited by
Thomas M. West, Jr.

Pizitz Genesis of a Retail Giant

Pizitz Genesis of a Retail Giant
By James R. Bennett


About JCHA Publications

The Jefferson County Historical Association offers several books that offer a fresh insight into the rich history of Birmingham and Jefferson County Alabama. They tell the fascinating story of the people and industries that made Jefferson County and Alabama the industrial center of the South.

From first-hand accounts to thoroughly researched narratives, The JCHA publishes books that bring forth rich episodes of Jefferson Counties history in a readable style that engages both scholarly and general audiences.

Ordering JCHA Books

These JCHA books can be purchased at meetings of the Jefferson County Historical Association or ordered by mail.

Click the link below to print or save a book order form. PDF format.

Book Order Form

You may also order by sending your check or money order to the following address along with $5.00 for shipping and taxes (please add $2.00 for each additional book):

The Jefferson County Historical Association
PO Box 130285
Birmingham, AL 35213-0285

Please indicate book title and quantity when ordering.


Other Source Publications Co-Sponsored by the JCHA:

  • Tannehill and the Growth of the Alabama Iron Industry — James R. Bennett, Alabama Historic Ironworks Commission, 1999, available at www.tannehill.org, $45.
  • The Valley and the Hills, an Illustrated History of Birmingham and Jefferson County — Leah Rawls Atkins, Windsor Publications, 1981, available at the Birmingham Public Library Southern History Department, http://www.birminghamarchives.org/ArchivesStore.htm, $30



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