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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

July 2, 1964: Congress passes the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which bans discrimination in employment and in public places. Anti-segregation demonstrations in Birmingham helped create the political momentum that resulted in its passage.

July 5, 1872: Jesse S. Thompson and his family, one of the city's pioneer families, came to Birmingham, Jefferson County Alabama in 1871. He died July 5, 1872 and was the first interment in Oak Hill Cemetery.

July 7, 2002: The first set of sextuplets (four boys and two girls) born in Alabama was born at University Hospital.

July 7, 1915: Author Margaret Walker is born in Birmingham. Walker is best known for her collections of poetry and her novel, Jubilee, which is based on her maternal grandmother's memories of slavery.

July 12, 1902: Cornerstones were laid for the Birmingham Medical College and the Hillman Hospital.

July 18, 2005: Eric Rudolph was sentenced to life in prison without parole for the 1998 abortion clinic bombing in Birmingham.

July 21, 1894: Fire broke out in Stower’s Furniture Store, corner of First Avenue and Twenty-Second Street. Owing to lack of water pressure firemen were unable to control the flames, which soon crossed Twenty-Second Street and consumed the celebrated Caldwell Hotel, the finest structure of the kind in the south. The fire spread to adjoining buildings; Perry Mason Shoe Company also consumed.

July 26, 1914: Erskine Hawkins, famed jazz musician, is born in Birmingham. His band, the 'Bama State Collegians, became the Erskine Hawkins Orchestra in the late 1930's after gaining a following in New York and winning a recording contract with RCA Victor. The band's biggest hit was the immensely popular Tuxedo Junction (1940).

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 fourth 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, chairman of the Marker Committee and the innovator of the program, refers to the signs as "a history book on a pole." Persons wishing to suggest a subject and location for a historical marker should contact Mr. West at 205-871-5365. 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