The National Trust Celebrates A.G. Gaston Motel's Completed Restoration

July 6, 2022 by National Trust for Historic Preservation

On Thursday, June 30, 2022, the City of Birmingham hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony to mark a pivotal milestone in the journey to fully restore the A.G. Gaston Motel. The historic site, which is a part of the Birmingham Civil Rights National Monument, celebrated the completion of a multi-year long restoration of the exterior of the motel and courtyard, the coffee shop, dining room and a special exhibition space. Since 2014, the National Trust has worked diligently to call national attention to the preservation needs of the A.G. Gaston Motel.

Rep. Terri Sewell (AL-7), along with Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg and the Mayor of Birmingham Randall Woodfin, among others, paid special tribute to the legacy of the motel and the opportunity the site now has to continue the City’s mission to “reflect, restore, and renew.”

Executive Director of the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund and Senior Vice president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Brent Leggs, also shared remarks on the National Trust’s deep commitment to ensuring this motel is protected and preserved for generations to come.

“The National Trust is proud to support communities like Birmingham that are revolutionizing preservation practice,” said Leggs. “These historic sites bring forward a diverse and inclusive national narrative that plays a crucial role in redefining our collective history and, meaningfully, expanding the preservation movement in equitable ways. This innovation in practice helps us all make amends and walk toward a new era of justice.”

A group of people standing in front of a red ribbon that has just been cut as part of an opening ceremony for a historic property in Birmingham, Alabama.

photo by: National Trust for Historic Preservation

A.G. Gaston Motel ribbon-cutting which took place on June 30, 2022. Pictured l. to r.: Denise Gilmore, City of Birmingham; Brent Leggs, executive director of the Action Fund; Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg; Randall Woodfin, Mayor of Birmingham; Odessa Woolfolk, educator and civil rights activist; Rep. Terri Sewell; and others.

With urgency and intention, the Trust listed the Gaston on our 2015 America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places List. In 2016, we named the site as part of our National Treasures portfolio and co-developed the March on Birmingham grassroots advocacy event. The National Trust advocated for the passage of the Birmingham Civil Rights National Monument designation and continues to provide support by way of the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund.

Learn more about our work to protect A. G. Gaston Motel.

Each year, America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places sheds light on important examples of our nation’s heritage that are at risk of destruction or irreparable damage.

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