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JCHA MARKER PROGRAM

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Edgewood Lake sign

Historical Marker Locations

  • Independent Presbyterian Church
  • The Little Theatre
  • The Alabama Theatre
  • Shades Valley High School (original site)
  • Mountain Brook
  • Homewood
  • Rosedale
  • Hollywood
  • Edgewood
  • Briarwood Presbyterian Church
  • Will Franke/Early Mountain Brook Village
  • St. Vincent's Hospital
  • Oldest House in Shades Valley/Irondale Furnace Commissary
  • Union Hill Cemetery/Union Hill Methodist Episcopal Church/Union Hill School
  • Lane Park
  • Birmingham Water Works Company/Cahaba Pumping Station
  • Irondale Furnace/Wallace S. McElwain
  • The Old Mill/Robert Jemison, Jr.
  • Brock's Gap/The South & North Railroad Cut/Gateway to Birmingham
  • Canterbury United Methodist Church
  • Edgewood Lake

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This Month in Jefferson County History

August 1, 1974: Groundbreaking was held for the Monday Morning Quarterback Tower at UAB.

August 9, 1956: Alabama establishes the nation’s first state-wide, state-supported educational TV network. In April, WBIQ in Birmingham signed on, it marked the beginning of Alabama Educational Television (now Alabama Public Television). Twenty-five other states have started public television networks, all based on Alabama's model.

August 12, 1937: President Franklin Roosevelt appoints Alabama Sen. Hugo Black to the U.S. Supreme Court. Black's nomination was soon confirmed by his Senate colleagues, but before he took his seat on the court that October he was compelled to address the nation by radio in order to respond to controversy about his membership in the Ku Klux Klan in the early 1920s. Black served on the court until 1971, retiring just a few days before his death. He once practiced law in Birmingham.

August 20, 1937: Dixie Bibb Graves takes her seat in the U.S. Senate to become Alabama's first female senator. Only the fourth woman to serve as a U.S. senator, Graves had been appointed by her husband, Gov. Bibb Graves, to succeed Hugo Black, who had been appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court. She was a trustee of Alabama Boys’ Industrial School, Birmingham.

August 30, 1908: Officials of the United Mine Workers (UMW) in Birmingham call off a bitter coal strike, prompting the Birmingham News to declare that the result would be "Prosperity in the Birmingham District." Workers had walked out of the mines in early July to protest wage conditions, and almost two months of violence ensued. As many as 18,000 black and white workers had joined UMW, but resistance by employers, intervention by Gov. B. B. Comer, and public dissatisfaction broke the strike and debilitated UMW's strength in Birmingham for years.

ABOUT US

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Jefferson County Historical Association meeting

Recent meeting of the Jefferson County Historical Association

The Jefferson County Historical Association is dedicated to preserving and publicizing local history through regular meetings, publications and events. Founded in 1975 to promote historical preservation efforts, the society has grown to over 300 members.

It meets four times a year to hear outstanding speakers, plan programs and projects and discuss items of mutual interest. The society is governed by a 16-member board of directors chaired by the JCHA president. Several committees are at work on projects including media outreach, publications, awards and historical markers.

The JCHA newsletter is mailed to members and is also available on this site.

Formerly known as the Birmingham-Jefferson Historical Society, the organization changed its name in 2010 to better reflect its mission to the metropolitan area.

Josiah Morris

Josiah Morris–an early founder of Birmingham

Jefferson County, founded in 1819 and named for the third U.S. president Thomas Jefferson, grew rapidly in the early 1880s to become the largest county in Alabama. It is the location of 35 municipalities including Birmingham, Alabama’s largest city.

While the original immigrants, mostly veterans from the War of 1812, had agricultural pursuits in mind their attention quickly shifted to the area’s immense mineral wealth which gave rise to the iron and steel industry. By 1910, Alabama, largely because of the mines and mills in and around Birmingham, ranked third in the nation in iron ore mining and fourth in pig iron production. It also became a major steel producer.

Southern Railway train Sunnyland

Southern Railway train "Sunnyland" leaving Birmingham, 1948

Today, Birmingham, founded six years after the Civil War ended, is the South’s leading industrial center.

Since 1992, the JCHA has erected 20 historical markers throughout Jefferson County, the most of any local historical society. The 30" x 42" cast aluminum markers cost about $2,200 each with funding coming from interested parties.

Tom West, former chairman of the Marker Committee and the innovator of the program, referred to the signs as "a history book on a pole." Persons wishing to suggest a subject and location for a historical marker should contact Alice Williams. A review committee consists of two society members and an interested third party.

Ensley mill 1909

Ensley Steel Mill circa 1909

Downtown Birmingham Today

Interior, General Waiting Room, Terminal Station in Birmingham.
This structure, built in 1909, was torn down in 1969.

Downtown Birmingham Today

Terminal Station circa 1950's