Alabama Trust and Savings Bank/ Mefford Jewelers

The Alabama Trust and Savings Bank/ Mefford Jewelers

102 North Court Street

This building has been home to Mefford Jewelers since 1986, when Olin T. Mefford, Jr. moved his family’s 41-year-old business from its previous location just around the corner. Deep within the store, however, a nearly century-old reinforced bank vault is a clue to the building’s former identity as the home of Alabama Trust and Savings bank. The bank moved to this location in 1906, remodeled in 1917, then replaced the earlier building in 1924 with the current structure.

Architecture

The building constructed in 1924 looked much like it does today. Built in a Neoclassical Revival style, the building features two stories covered with brick and stone panel siding, dentilated cornices, pilasters with ornamental papyrus reed-like capitals, elements of the more rare Egyptian Revival style, and a flat roof surrounded by a parapet. The second-story windows facing Court Street were adorned with awnings, as were the second-story windows facing East Tennessee Street. The first-floor corner entry, now recessed and supported by one column, was originally flush with the south- and west-facing walls. Several original features, including exposed interior brick, marble floors and painted ceiling trim were uncovered during a 2014 renovation and are now showcased. The full basement contains a second, older vault assumed to have been added to the building when the bank first took possession in 1906 and is the only remnant of the earlier bank building.


Other Businesses

Prior to the 1924 construction, this property, referred to as Lot #55 in early maps, was occupied by various dry goods stores, including Taylor’s Dry Goods, which vacated the building in December 1905 to allow the bank to move in. In 1932, the Alabama Trust and Savings Bank was absorbed by the Tennessee Valley Bank, located just east on Tennessee Street. The Tennessee Valley Bank became the State National Bank in 1939 and moved from their location on East Tennessee Street to this location, fronting Court Street. The bank remained at this location until the grand opening of Busch's Jewelers in 1958. Throughout these transitions, the second floor of the building often housed professional offices, including dentists, attorneys, and real estate agents. Today, two apartments occupy the second floor.