Birmingham is the most populous city in Alabama and is the seat of Jefferson County. Founded in 1871 in the mineral-rich Jones Valley, it quickly grew to become one of the nation’s leaders in metal and iron production. Its nicknames include “Magic City” and the “Pittsburgh of the South.” Birmingham was the site of pivotal events in the civil rights movement, including the bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church and the 1963 arrest of Martin Luther King Jr., during which he wrote his “Letter from Birmingham Jail.”
Citizens ride on a mule-drawn street car on First Avenue North in downtown Birmingham in 1887.
Nineteenth Street North at Second Avenue in downtown Birmingham, ca. 1890.
Photograph by J. Horgan Jr.
A special train providing transport from downtown Birmingham to a picnic at East Lake Park in June 1893.
Photograph by O.V. Hunt
A bicycle race at the Alabama State Fairgrounds in Birmingham. The statue of Vulcan, seen in the background, was erected on the grounds in 1906.
O.V. Hunt Photograph
Construction of the Jefferson County Savings Bank in downtown Birmingham in 1913.
The Sixteenth Street Baptist Church Choir on the steps of the church, ca. 1917.
A traffic cop on Twentieth Street North in downtown Birmingham during the early 1920s, before electric traffic lights were installed.
A concert in Avondale Park in Birmingham, ca. 1925.
The Alabama Theater, a Birmingham landmark, was built in 1927 and today houses the Alabama Theatre for the Performing Arts.
Terminal Station was Birmingham's main railroad station from 1909 until in 1969, when it was demolished. The Magic City sign greeted travelers as they entered the city.
Historic Carver Theater, now home to the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame, is located in the historic Fourth Avenue district of Birmingham.
A rainy day in 1955 on Twentieth Street North in downtown Birmingham.
Vegetables and other produce displayed at a farmers market on Finley Avenue in Birmingham in 1961.