Sky High

The newly refurbished and renamed RSA-BankTrust Building at 107 St. Francis St. is an address with an impressive history. Originally the site of the U.S. Customs House and Post Office from 1853, the Neo-Renaissance structure, along with the original First National Bank Building, were demolished in 1963 to accommodate Alabama’s tallest skyscraper.

At 424 feet tall, with more than a quarter million square feet of floor space, it held the title for record height until 1986 when it was eclipsed by another bank construction in Birmingham. The tower remained Mobile’s highest until the RSA-Battle House Tower became the city’s — and state’s — loftiest in 2007.

In its 46 years, the local landmark has been known as the First National Bank Building, the AmSouth Bank Building, and the GM Building. Recently purchased by the Retirement Systems of Alabama, it is currently undergoing a major renovation that includes a new name, the RSA-BankTrust Building. BankTrust, the only publicly traded bank holding company headquartered in Mobile, occupies 72, 000 square feet of the revitalized structure. 

The Bienville Club, on the 34th floor, the building’s highest, has reopened after significant refurbishments and remains a favorite spot to view the city and waterfront below.

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text and photo by Catt Sirten, Historic photo courtesy of Doy Leale McCall Rare Book and Manuscript Library / USA Archives

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