Book dealer Ben Davis built his home in 1857 at the crest of the Bibb Street hill where it had a commanding view of downtown and the state capitol. Davis could actually see the clock on that newly built structure from one of the city’s highest points adjacent to the area that would become the Cottage Hill neighborhood.
The time was one of architectural transition and the columned Greek Revival fashion was giving way to the bracketed, asymmetrical Italianate style. Davis used a colonnaded porch across the front of his rigidly symmetrical house, but on the cornice he lavishly applied graceful brackets interspersed with decorative ventilator covers, thus embodying handsome details from two important architectural periods. A dogtrot hall divides the house whose five high-ceiling rooms assure some respite from the summer sun. Other cooling devices are the floor-length windows across the front porch. When open, they permit breezes to flow, pulled through the deep porch which offers protection from both sun and rain.
Moved in 1973 when the widening of its street became imperative as an access road to Interstate 65, the house seemed reluctant to leave the original site. As the moving crew took it off the lot and into the streets, it became stuck in the intersection, blocking traffic overnight. The next day, after considerable maneuvering, the building continued on to Old Alabama Town. Restored, the Davis-Cook House lends a gracious ambiance to the corner of Columbus and North Hull Streets.