Overview / History of Birmingham, AL

Established in the year 1871, the history of the city of Birmingham, Alabama is tied in with the post-Civil War period. Due to the anticipation from the intersection of the North-South and Chattanooga & Alabama railroads, the city was formed. Birmingham, AL can be found along Highway 119 near Clanton and Alabaster or between Atlanta, Georgia and Pell City on Interstate 20.

As at 2017, the estimated population of Birmingham was 210, 710 which made it the most populated city in Alabama. If you’re thinking that the name Birmingham reminds you of the English town, then there’s nothing wrong with that. In fact, the city was named for Birmingham, England due to both of them sharing certain similarities such as large populations and large industries.

The original settlers of the city were of English Ancestry. The Alabama city after the civil war era annexed smaller cities and eventually became an industrial center known for mining activities, iron & steel industry, and rail transport. The mineral deposits of coal, limestone and iron ore made Birmingham, AL a natural location for the smelting of iron.
Birmingham happens to be the only location in the world where 3 core ingredients for steel, i.e., iron ore, coal, and limestone are found within a 10-mile radius of each other. In the year 1904, a statue in the personification of the Roman god of the forge, Vulcan was commissioned. This was done to advertise the industry of the city in the St. Louis World Fair.

In modern day, this statue can be found in its own park, and it is currently the second tallest statue in America missing out of the pole position due to the Statue of Liberty. However, if you also feel the need to see the statue of liberty, no need to go all the way to New York as a replica exists on the outskirts of the city.

Right from its founding days in 1871 to the 1960s, the city served as the primary industrial center of Southern America. Its continuous growth in the manufacturing and production of iron and other mineral deposits earned it the name of “The Pittsburgh of the South” and “Magic City.” Significant components of the railroad industry such as the cars and rails were manufactured in the city.

In the south, two cities were top for the manufacture of the railroad, and they were Atlanta and Birmingham. This trend of railroading continued until the latter half of the 20th century in which the economy diversified into other areas. No longer was manufacturing the driving source of the economy.

Other activities such as banking, telecommunications, medical care, insurance, education, and transportation took over. Now, Birmingham, AL is one of the largest banking centers in the United States.

The current University of Alabama at Birmingham started out as an extension of the University of Alabama School of Medicine. It was then relocated from Tuscaloosa to Birmingham, AL in 1945. After the decline of manufacturing activities in the city, the University became the largest employer of labor.

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