Celebrate Birmingham Day! The Magic City was established in 1871 today (28 photos)

Birmingham, Alabama
Birmingham, Alabama
Vulcan – Birmingham, Alabama

On December 19th, 1871 – 145 years ago – the city of Birmingham was incorporated by the state of Alabama.

In 1925, the Birmingham City Commission officially adopted December 19th as Birmingham Day.

We’ve come a long way since our city founders mapped out the streets and city blocks 14 1/2 decades ago.  Nicknamed “The Magic City” only 2 years after its founding, Birmingham became Alabama’s largest city and an economic powerhouse built on steel, in just four decades, growing from a population of 3,086 in 1880 to 259,678 in 1930.  The city’s population topped out according to the 1960 census at over 340,000.

How well do you know Birmingham?  Take the quiz 

In the late 50s & 60s Birmingham was the epicenter of the Civil Rights movement. It became known for racially motivated bombings , freedom riders being attacked, the children’s crusade & the fire hoses, the jailing of Martin Luther King and the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church, killing of four little girls.   The non-violent protests of the civil rights movement in Birmingham  “took down” the Jim Crow laws and spurred the passage of the Civil Rights Act.

Today, the city has become a home for innovation, growth and development. For example, Birmingham’s largest employer, the University of Alabama Birmingham (UAB) is a world class health research institution tackling the AIDS and diabetes epidemics.

Culturally, Birmingham has become a mecca for fine dining and for culinary innovation.  Just this year, Birmingham was named by Zagats as one of the hottest food cities in America.

It is also a place of reconciliation; a place that gave birth to the internationally renown  Birmingham Pledge and is proposing the creation of a Birmingham Civil Rights National Park.

Bottomline, it’s the people of Birmingham that make this place special.  This city has produced  Willie Mays, Condoleezza Rice, Dr. James Andrews, E.O. Wilson, Mother Angelica and many, many more everyday folks who make Birmingham truly magical – The Magic City.

Join us in celebrating Happy Birmingham Day!

Our home is very special. Enjoy the slideshow and video below!

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Author: Pat Byington

Longtime conservationist. Former Executive Director at the Alabama Environmental Council and Wild South. Publisher of the Bama Environmental News for more than 18 years. Career highlights include playing an active role in the creation of Alabama's Forever Wild program, Little River Canyon National Preserve, Dugger Mountain Wilderness, preservation of special places throughout the East through the Wilderness Society and the strengthening (making more stringent) the state of Alabama's cancer risk and mercury standards.