Warren, Knight & Davis, Architects
William T. Warren, Eugene H. Knight, and John E. Davis formed the partnership of
Warren, Knight & Davis in Birmingham in 1921. The original partners built a firm
that was not only prolific but also integral to the development of Birmingham,
the state of Alabama, and the Southeast during the first half of the twentieth
century. John M. Schnorrenberg, Ph.D., scholar and curator of the Birmingham
Museum of Art’s 1999 exhibition of the work of Warren, Knight & Davis, wrote in
his exhibition catalogue that, “The firm [Warren, Knight, and Davis] formed
together was the dominant architectural firm in Alabama from the 1920s to at
least the end of the 1950s. Their reputation was high in the place they had
chosen to make their careers.”
Outside of Birmingham, the firm contributed designs to several structures in the
Montgomery state capitol complex, buildings on college and university campuses
throughout the state, and courthouses in cities and towns throughout Alabama and
Florida. In and around Birmingham, Warren, Knight & Davis designed many of the
commercial buildings that define the city’s skyline, a majority of public school
buildings in the city, and many homes for the city’s most prominent residents.
During the 1920s alone, the firm designed, among other buildings, the Alabama
Power Building, Independent Presbyterian Church, Protective Life Building,
Norwood School, Country Club of Birmingham, Birmingham Branch of the Federal
Reserve Bank of Atlanta, and homes for several of Birmingham’s most
distinguished residents, including Theodore Swann.
Theodore Swann was an inventor, industrialist, and successful businessman.
The Swann home was designed between 1926 and 1928 in the English Tudor style,
although design details reference several different historic periods and
cultures. Construction was completed by 1930 at a cost of $600,000. Grounds for
the home were designed by William H. Kessler.
Scope and Content
The collection contains over eighty items related to the design of the
Theodore Swann Residence (1926-1928). Included in the collection are pencil on
paper drawings, pencil on tissue drawings, and blueprints. Some drawings in the
collection are attributed to William H. Kessler, Landscape Architect.
Theodore Swann Residence, North Elevation.
Collection #1656. Warren, Knight & Davis Architects. Birmingham Public Library.
Department of Archives and Manuscripts.
Schnorrenberg, John M. Remembered Past, Discovered Future: The
Alabama Architecture of Warren Knight & Davis, 1906-1961. Catalogue of
Exhibitions at Birmingham Museum of Art, Birmingham Public Library, and
University of Alabama at Birmingham Visual Arts Gallery. Birmingham, Alabama:
Birmingham Museum of Art, 1999.