1902-1968 / Birthplace of Tallulah Bankhead
— Alabama's Best-Known Actress —
Tallulah Bankhead was the toast of the London theatre in the 1920's, and nationally renowned for her dramatic roles in "The Little Foxes" (1939), "The Skin of Our Teeth" (1942), the movie "Lifeboat" (1944), and as emcee of the "The Big Show" (NBC Radio, 1950-52). She was born in Huntsville on January 31, 1902, in an apartment of the I. Schiffman Building (see other side). Her father, then Huntsville City Attorney, was later Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives. A ravishing beauty in her youth, Tallulah was known for her uninhibited exuberance, deep sultry voice, and for calling everyone "Dahling" She appeared in 56 plays, 19 movies, and scores of radio and television productions during her 50-year career. She is buried in the churchyard of St. Paul's, Kent County, Maryland.
This was the original site for a building erected by John Brahan before 1817 and known as No. 1 & No. 2 Cheapside. Erected circa 1845, the present structure is the surviving south third of a Federal-style building. In 1895, the Southern Savings and Loan Association acquired the property, and commissioned Architect George W. Thompson of Nashville, Tennessee to transform the building into Huntsville's only surviving example of Richardsonian Romanesque architecture. Isaac Schiffman purchased the property in 1905. His family's businesses have continued here since that date. The building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980.