Empire Building – Vintage Birmingham Alabama Postcard
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This restored vintage postcard shows the historic Empire Building in Birmingham, Alabama. When I saw this cool nighttime scene of that skyscraper reaching into the inky blue skies, I knew this was a special view of vintage Birmingham that needed to be restored. There’s just something super special about this one. The style, tone, and color has a great vintage vibe and that was something that was important to me to retain while I cleaned up the years of damage to the original cards I worked from. Yes, I had to purchase multiple of these vintage postcards to get a workable image.
The Empire Building is also known as the City National Bank Building. Completed in 1909, the 16 story building was done in the neoclassical style which was quite popular for impressive buildings of its day. When completed it was the tallest building in the entire state of Alabama. The Empire Building eventually fell vacant and was only in recent years renovated and reopened as the Elyton Hotel – a luxury hotel in the heart of Birmingham. What a great fate for a century old and iconic building! Too many end up meeting the wrecking ball.
The original Birmingham Empire Building postcard must have been published when the building was still fairly new. There’s no printing date on the postcards I have but the postmarks range from 1912 to 1917. And a further clue to the age of this vintage Birmingham, Alabama, postcard lies in the publisher. William H. Faulkner owned and operated the Post Card Exchange Publishers in Birmingham, AL, from 1909 to 1919. The postcards published by the company were color printed with halftone dots. Like many vintage postcards if you take a detailed look at them, you can see the tiny little dots that create the overall image. And I can tell you from looking at multiple of these cards in the process of restoring them, it’s always an imprecise science printing them. I don’t think any two cards are precisely the same.
Because of the no two are the same nature of these cards and the excessive wear and dirt on all the cards I had at my disposal, this restoration is in the spirit of the original postcard but unlikely to be identical. I normally do my best to retain the halftone dots that are part of the printing process but in the case of this particular vintage postcard, it was not possible. But I’m very pleased with the final result and believe you will be as well. The mood and vintage coloring has been retained.This restored postcard can be ordered in an array of sizes from small to quite large including many ready to hang formats such as canvas prints, framed wall art and more.
If you have memories of the old Empire Building in Birmingham or general thoughts on this vintage Alabama postcard, I hope you’ll take the time to share your thoughts in the comments. If you have questions about prints or other comments you’d like to share with me directly, please feel free to send me a message.
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