Brookside is located in north-central Jefferson County, in the central part of the state. It has a mayor/council form of government.


Sloss Company Brookside Coke Ovens The first settlers in the area that now encompasses Brookside arrived as early as 1838. The town itself grew up around the Brookside Mine, opened in 1886 by the Coalburg Coal and Coke Company and bought by Sloss Iron and Steel Company the following year. The mining operation was technologically advanced for its time, having its own coal washer and a series of beehive ovens that turned the coal into coke. The coal washer had such a large capacity that Brookside was able to provide that service for other nearby mines that lacked one.

Brookside incorporated in 1898. By 1900, the town had a railroad depot, dry goods stores, several saloons, and a drugstore. The first school was built in 1900 as well; it was replaced in 1923 by a larger structure.

Brookside was unusual in Alabama for its sizeable Eastern European immigrant population. Facing a persistent shortage of labor, Sloss recruiters went overseas to what was then Czechoslovakia and recruited miners to work at Brookside and other area mines. The number of miners at Brookside peaked at around 600 in 1914. In 1920, the combination of a United Mine Workers strike and a worldwide drop in coal prices caused Sloss to close the mine.

Brookside, 1937 In 1925, the film Coming Through, starring Wallace Beery, was shot in Brookside, with many locals acting as extras; the film was based on a novel by Alabama writer Jack Bethea titled Bed Rock. Alabama Power Company brought electricity to town in 1927. A city hall was built in 1953.

Disaster struck the town in 2003 when a series of storms dropped 10 inches of rain in 10 hours, causing nearby Five Mile Creek to flood the entire historic downtown area, damaging many buildings and some residences beyond repair. In 2002, Brookside joined the effort to spark tourism by becoming part of the Five Mile Creek Greenway, a biking/hiking/canoeing trail that connects it with the nearby towns of Tarrant, Fultondale, Birmingham, Center Point, and Graysville.


According to 2016 Census estimates, Brookside recorded a population of 1,202. Of that number, 76.5 percent of respondents identified themselves as white, 22.7 percent as African American, 0.2 percent as Asian, 0.2 percent as Hispanic or Latino, 0.2 percent as Native American, and 0.2 percent as two or more races. The town’s median household income, according to 2010 estimates, was $30,833, and the per capita income was $16,889.


According to 2016 Census estimates, the work force in Brookside was divided among the following industrial categories:

  • Educational services and health care and social assistance (17.5 percent)
  • Retail trade (16.5 percent)
  • Manufacturing (12.5 percent)
  • Wholesale trade (10.3 percent)
  • Arts, entertainment, and recreation, and accommodation and food services (9.8 percent)
  • Transportation and warehousing, and utilities (8.0 percent)
  • Professional, scientific, and management, and administrative and waste management services (5.5 percent)
  • Construction (5.3 percent)
  • Other services, except public administration (5.3 percent)
  • Public administration (4.5 percent)
  • Finance and insurance, and real estate and rental and leasing (2.5 percent)
  • Information (1.8 percent)
  • Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting, and extraction (0.8 percent)


Students in Brookside attend Jefferson County schools; no public schools are located within the town limits.


Interstate Highway way 65 lies about 2 miles east of Brookside running north-south, while Interstate Highway 22 is located about a mile south of town, running southeast-northwest.

The Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport is located about 10 miles east of Brookside.

Events and Places of Interest

Burrell-Country House Brookside holds the St. Nicholas Russian/Slavic Food Festival on the first full weekend in November each year. Members of the St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church prepare typical foods of their Eastern European heritage. In June, the town holds a running-biking “duathlon” to support the Brookside Greenway Park alongside Five-Mile Creek.

The Brookside History Museum is housed in the renovated Burrell-Country House. The Bivens Chapel Cemetery and the Five-Mile Creek Bridge at Bivens Chapel are listed on the Alabama Register of Landmarks and Heritage.

Additional Resources

Jefferson County Heritage Book Committee. The Heritage of Jefferson County. Clanton, Ala.: Heritage Publishing Consultants, 2002.

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