Tuesday, February 26, 2013

High Fade

FirstNatlBankGhostSignNot long ago, I was driving through downtown Birmingham and caught a quick glimpse of the letter "F" atop one of the buildings. I finally got a chance to take another look, and lo and behold, a "new" ghost sign is emerging. Take a close look at the photo, at the top left corner of the building, and you'll see the faint outline of the word "First"—for First National Bank of Birmingham, which once had its headquarters in the Frank Nelson Building on the corner of 20th Street and 3rd Avenue North. (This sign is visible from 20th Street, facing the north side of the building.) According to Bhamwiki, First National Bank occupied this building from 1903 to 1940, meaning the sign dates from some point between those years. The bank, which could trace its lineage to 1872, when Charles Linn founded the city's first bank, went on to become AmSouth, now merged with Regions.

The sign probably featured white letters on a black background, which is reappearing from beneath the beige topcoat. Or else that wall was really dirty and sooty when it was repainted!

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