Built in 1929, Thomas Jefferson Tower began its life as the Thomas Jefferson Hotel. It was later known as the Cabana Hotel and finally Leer Tower. At 19 stories and 350 rooms, The Thomas Jefferson Hotel was a stately presence in Birmingham's early cityscape. Appointed with opulent features including marble floors, a grand ballroom, and ornate architectural elements, such as the magnificent window banks that line each floor, the Thomas Jefferson was one of the finest hotels in America. The Hotel also hosted a Zeppelin mooring mast for anchoring dirigibles, once thought to be the transportation of the future. It stands to atop the tower to this day, the last in the world.
As one of the finest luxury hotels in the south, a multitude of stars and VIPs made their stay at the Thomas Jefferson as they came through the Magic City. Presidents Calvin Coolidge and Herbert Hoover both roomed at the hotel, as did singer Ray Charles, and legendary coach of the Alabama Crimson Tide, Paul Bear Bryant. With unmatched amenities and entertainment, the hotel thrived into the 1970s.
As the economy began to stagnate in the 70s, so did the once grand hotel. Restyled as the Cabana Hotel, the interior was refurbished in the style of the day with shag carpeting and dropped ceilings. Birmingham continued to grow despite the struggling economy and newer establishments began to take their toll on the once lively hotel's business. After suffering two major fires in the early 80s and a continual decline in business, the hotel shut its doors for good on May 3, 1983.
2005 & 2012 both saw attempts to revive the building with 2005 striving to re-brand the former hotel as Leer Tower. However, due to financial instability neither project was completed, and the once grand structure fell further to ruin.
Finally, in 2013 an investment group purchased the building and pursued heavy restorations and renovations - modernizing the structure but staying true to the historic architecture and style of the original Thomas Jefferson Hotel. From the ashes of its former glory, the Thomas Jefferson Tower was born, rising like a phoenix to shine again as a part of the historic Birmingham skyline. With 100 luxurious apartments, retail and event space, and a much heralded on-site restaurant - Roots & Revelry, Thomas Jefferson Tower is once again an exciting and inspiring spot in the heart of the Magic City. Come by and visit today. Tour the model apartment, dine at Roots & Revelry, and experience a piece of Birmingham's rich past brought into the present. It's an amazing experience, and we aren't done yet!