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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

January 1, 1900: Alabama ushers in 1900 with cold temperatures and little fanfare. Snow was recorded in Birmingham and Montgomery at the start of the holiday weekend and freezing temperatures continued to Monday.

January 1, 1910: Although local referendums indicated mixed feelings about annexation, the Alabama Legislature enacted an expansion of Birmingham's corporate limits that added a half dozen suburban cities to the central city including Woodlawn, North Birmingham, Ensley, Avondale, East Lake, West End and Pratt City. Birmingham’s population jumped to 132,685 making it one of the fastest growing cities in the U.S.

January 13, 2010: On a flight to carry a survivor of the earthquake in Haiti to a Miami hospital, UAB Hospital’s Critical Care Transport (CCT) jet became the first US aircraft in five decades to make an official flight through Cuban airspace.

January 15, 1929: The New Hillman Hospital Building was dedicated.

January 19, 2010: Mayor William Bell, who previously served as interim Mayor in 1999, won a special election on January 19, 2010, to fill the unexpired term of former Mayor Larry Langford who was removed from office after being convicted of federal corruption charges.

January 26, 1983: Alabamians are shocked and saddened when retired University of Alabama football coach Paul "Bear" Bryant dies suddenly from a heart attack. Coach Bryant is buried in Elmwood Cemetery.

January 29, 1998: The New Woman, All Woman Health Care [abortion] Clinic was bombed by Robert Rudolph.

January 31, 1999: Scientists from the University of Alabama at Birmingham reported that the AIDS virus originated from a subspecies of chimpanzee in western Africa and that it jumped to humans in the last 50 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 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