Historic Markers Across Alabama

A.B. Loveman House

Marker ID: AHC 
Location: 2956 Rhodes Circle, Birmignaham, AL
County: Jefferson
Coordinates: N 33° 30.464    W 086° 46.944
  33.50773333    -86.7824
Style: Free Standing **
Waymark: WMD14C


The house was built c. 1908 for Adolph B. Loveman, a Hungarian immigrant who in 1887 founded the dry goods business that evolved into one of Birmingham's signature retail establishments, Loveman, Joseph & Loeb. Its English-style neighbor to the north on the Circle was built at the same time for Adolph's eldest son Joseph.

A fine example of early 20th-century Neoclassicism, the simple block of the house is made monumental by the richly detailed and pedimented portico with its clustered Corinthian columns and detail moldings. Although the identity of the architect is obscure, it is attributed to the firm of Wheelock, Joy and Wheelock. It is thought to have been at least partially designed by Thomas U. Walter III, grandson of U.S. Capitol architect Thomas Ustick Walter. Facing incipient blindness, Mr. Walter retired from the profession about 1905 and his designs were fulfilled by other firms.

The house was in the Loveman family for two generations before Leona Loveman Cronhelm sold it in 1973 to a religious group. Shortly thereafter, the Salvation Army purchased the house as a home for girls who used some of the rooms as a bowling alley.

Back on the market in the early 1980s, attorney David Shelby for use as an office purchased it for himself and his law partner Robert Roden. Shelby restored the house retaining original materials and features, creating minimal changes to the interior arrangements and completely refurbishing the exterior. In 2008 Roden purchased the house and again refurbished the office as well as the Carriage House at the rear of the property. The former carriage house had been a secondary residence for the family of A. G. Gaston (1892-1996), a pioneering African-American businessman, whose mother worked as a cook for the Loveman family.

The A. B. Loveman House was included as a part of the Highland Avenue-Rhodes Park Historic District in the national Register of Historic Places in 1977 and expanded in 1982.

End of A.B. Loveman House