Morris Avenue is a narrow cobble stone avenue that was named for Josiah Morris. Morris, was one of the initial shareholders in the Elyton Land Company who proposed the name “Birmingham” for the new city. By the late 1800’s Morris Avenue was lined with three and four-story brick warehouses. One of these building has been home to one of the city’s most famous icons, Peanut Depot. The building was built in 1885. Then around the 1930 or 40’s Peanut Depot, which the Cassimuss family had started in 1907 at a different location on Morris Avenue, move in to their new space and resumed its operation.
Cindy and I was recently downtown and took a walk down Morris Avenue. As we pasted by the old Depot, we saw workers finishing what appeared as a renovation. We struck up a conversation and discovered that it was the reopening the following week. I knew that the Depot had opened another location near Railroad Park and was excited that they weren’t leaving Morris.
Then one day in late January, I again found myself walking down the old cobble stone avenue. I stopped by the Peanut Depot, walked in, and spoke with its owner. It happened to be a slow morning, which was unusual compared to other times that I had visited. After purchasing a bag of Cajun nuts, I took several images. The building looked a little different, and I missed seeing an old wooden table that used to be the place where the cash register had once sat. I had remembered that old table, because of the years of character etched into its wood. When I asked about it, the owner said that it needed some repairs, so he placed it in storage.
I have photographed the depot several times, and each time, I have left with untaken photographs left behind. After all, the place is an icon. I think, there isn’t any hurry, it will certainly be there the next time I walk down Morris Avenue. So, I left never realizing that this visit was my last opportunity to photograph this amazing historical building.
As I was doing research for this post, I discovered the Peanut Depot had moved shortly after my visit. The new location is at 3009 Messer Airport Hwy. just across the street from SAAB Tire Company.
The Depot does an amazing amount of business, and I understand that their peanuts are found in sports arenas all over the United States. It is exciting to see them still having growing pains after 110 years, and I’m so proud for them. What I don’t understand, is why do I feel like there has been a death on Morris Avenue.