3,000-pound mooring mast airlifted to the top of Thomas Jefferson Tower

Published: Aug. 7, 2016 at 1:22 AM CDT|Updated: Aug. 7, 2016 at 7:18 PM CDT
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Source: Lydia Hu/WBRC
Source: Lydia Hu/WBRC

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - Birmingham got a large piece of its history back Saturday.

How large? It stands about 275 feet high, weighs around 3,000 pounds and was installed by helicopter Saturday morning.

After six months of designing and planning, the 3,000-pound mooring mast was airlifted to the top of the Thomas Jefferson Tower in downtown Birmingham.

It's part of the renovation of the historic building designed in the 1920s to accommodate a special type of aircraft.

"The builders of the building installed a mast that would have accepted a zeppelin if you had traveled to Birmingham in a zeppelin," Robbie Cather said.

But the Hindenburg disaster of 1937 changed air travel and the tower on top of the building – it was adapted as more of a decorative skyline piece.

In the 1950s, the top half of the mast was removed and Cather says its restoration 70 years later is a symbol of the building's transformation and a return to the city's iconic skyline.

"We entered into as a leap of faith knowing it was going to be a real challenge to finish but understanding the value of it was going to be important to Birmingham," Cather said.

During the past 18 months, Cather's team transformed the abandoned hotel into more than 90-apartment units.

They available for rent starting this fall.

And, even if you're not looking for an apartment to rent, there will be spaces available for the public to enjoy – a restaurant for dining, caterer for entertaining and a new skyline view for everyone's gazing.

Cather says about twenty percent of the units have already been leased.

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