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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


This Month in Jefferson County History

November 10, 1972: Southern Airways Flight 49 is hijacked on a flight from Birmingham to Montgomery. Three armed men wanted by Detroit police demanded a $10 million ransom while diverting the plane from one airport to another in the United States, Canada, and Cuba, where the ordeal ended thirty hours after it began. The hijacking resulted in heightened security measures at American airports, including required use of metal detectors.

November 11, 1901: Alabama's 1901 Constitution is ratified by statewide vote in an election. With hundreds of amendments, the 1901 Constitution carries the distinction of being twice as long as the constitution of any other state. The Jefferson County vote was 8,088 for and 6,160 against.

November 12-13, 1833: A fantastic meteor shower causes this night to be known as "the night stars fell on Alabama." The shower created such great excitement across the state that it became a part of Alabama folklore and for years was used to date events. A century later it inspired a song and book, and in 2002 the state put the phrase "Stars Fell on Alabama" on its license plates.

November 14, 1910: Eugene Eli made the first airplane take-off from a ship, the USS Birmingham, in a Curtiss Model "D" biplane.

November 22, 1951: The Crippled Children's Clinic and Hospital was officially dedicated adjacent to the Medical Center.

November 1959: Groundbreaking ceremonies for Children's Hospital were held.

November 1966: President Frank A. Rose designated all university operations in Birmingham as the "University of Alabama in Birmingham," a degree-granting branch of The University of Alabama campus in Tuscaloosa.


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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