This neoclassical structure was built in 1905 for James W. Donnelly, "the father of the Birmingham Library System."
Donnelly moved to Birmingham from his native Cincinnati, Ohio after retiring from Proctor and Gamble. A much respected manufacturer, industrialist, real-estate developer and civic leader, he is best remembered for his efforts to organize, fund and develop the Birmingham Public Library System — one of the finest in the southeast.
The Donnelly house, included in the Highland Avenue Historic District, has served as a private residence, except during the 1950s, when the Birmingham Civic Ballet was located here.
Placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1977.