Birmingham’s Gaston Motel Renovation Project Phase II Implementation Complete

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A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held recently for Birmingham’s Gaston Motel renovation project at the city’s Civil Rights District. Previously this historic motel was used as a central meeting point for Civil Rights Movement leaders of the 1960s. Especially the motel’s Room 30 or War Room, where Luther King and other leaders strategized marches and boycotts in Birmingham.

The multi-phased Gaston Motel renovation, which began in 2019 with the 1954 wing, has finally concluded its second phase. Mayor Randall Woodfin and other city leaders were gathered at the ribbon-cutting event, which showcased the remodeled 1968 wing. Following the motel’s three-year restoration, the newly completed areas include a coffee shop, dining room, and exhibit area.

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The newly restored facilities of the Gaston Motel are intended to cater to residents and tourists in the city. Food and beverages will be served at the coffee shop. While at the exhibit area, the life and legacy of Dr. A. G. Gaston will be on display; giving visitors the history of Birmingham’s first Black American millionaire, who opened the motel on July 1, 1954.

Funding and future Gaston Motel Renovation developments

Birmingham pledged $10 million towards restoring Gaston Motel and The Mellon Foundation also provided financial support worth over $1 million. However, there are still more phases left to be completed. The National Park Service will be responsible for overseeing the next phase of the motel’s renovation. This is scheduled for 2025 and $5.6 million from the federal budget has been earmarked for the next phase. A legacy company owned by Dr. Gaston dubbed The A. G. Gaston Construction was contracted to handle the restoration.

Mayor Randall Woodfin was pleased with the progress made since the inception of the Gaston Motel renovation project in 2019. In his speech, the mayor described the motel as the city’s soul, which stands for Black solidarity, willpower, and victory. He said it encompasses all groups of people, despite their gender, creed, sexuality, or nationality.

DeJuana Thompson, the Civil Rights Institute President, said it was an honor to share this sacred space with the motel. She said Gaston Motel’s restoration also provides an opportunity to continue lifting the voices and the stories of the community.