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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

March 2, 1966: Alabama native Luther Leonidas Terry begins serving as U.S. Surgeon General under President John F. Kennedy. Terry was born in Red Level in 1911 and graduated from Birmingham-Southern College in 1931. As Surgeon General he issued a landmark report on smoking and health that raised awareness among policymakers and the public about the dangers of smoking.

March 3, 1817: The Alabama Territory is created when Congress passes the enabling act allowing the division of the Mississippi Territory and the admission of Mississippi into the union as a state. Alabama would remain a territory for over two years before becoming the 22nd state in December 1819. Jefferson County was also established in 1819.

March 24, 1961: The U.S. Supreme Court declares poll taxes are unconstitutional including those in Jefferson County.

March 26, 1910: Orville Wright pilots the first plane in Alabama, causing the Montgomery Advertiser to report "a strange new bird soared over the cotton fields 90 miles south of Birmingham." The Wright brothers came to Montgomery to set up a pilots’ training school. Several pilots were trained, but the brothers left the area by the end of May. Replacement parts for broken machinery were difficult to locate in the area and the flyers' efforts were frustrated by numerous spectators during their stay. The Wright’s eldest brother, Reuchlin, is thought to have lived in Birmingham.

March 30–31, 1865: Oxmoor, Irondale and Tannehill Furnaces attacked by federal forces during Wilson’s Raid.

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