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Birmingham, Alabama

Birmingham, Alabama

Overview
Birmingham is the largest city in Alabama. The city is the county seat
County seat
A county seat is an administrative center, or seat of government, for a county or civil parish. The term is primarily used in the United States....

 of Jefferson County
Jefferson County, Alabama
Jefferson County is the most populous county in the U.S. state of Alabama, with its county seat being located in Birmingham.As of the 2010 U.S. Census, the population of Jefferson County was 658,466...

. According to the 2010 United States Census, Birmingham had a population of 212,237. The Birmingham-Hoover Metropolitan Area, in estimate by the U.S. Census Bureau in 2009, had a population of about 1,212,848; approximately one-quarter of Alabama's population.

Birmingham was founded in 1871, just after the American Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

, through the merger of three pre-existing farm towns, notably, former Elyton.
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Encyclopedia
Birmingham is the largest city in Alabama. The city is the county seat
County seat
A county seat is an administrative center, or seat of government, for a county or civil parish. The term is primarily used in the United States....

 of Jefferson County
Jefferson County, Alabama
Jefferson County is the most populous county in the U.S. state of Alabama, with its county seat being located in Birmingham.As of the 2010 U.S. Census, the population of Jefferson County was 658,466...

. According to the 2010 United States Census, Birmingham had a population of 212,237. The Birmingham-Hoover Metropolitan Area, in estimate by the U.S. Census Bureau in 2009, had a population of about 1,212,848; approximately one-quarter of Alabama's population.

Birmingham was founded in 1871, just after the American Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

, through the merger of three pre-existing farm towns, notably, former Elyton. It grew from there, annexing
Annexation
Annexation is the de jure incorporation of some territory into another geo-political entity . Usually, it is implied that the territory and population being annexed is the smaller, more peripheral, and weaker of the two merging entities, barring physical size...

 many more of its smaller neighbors, into an industrial and railroad transportation center with a focus on mining
Mining
Mining is the extraction of valuable minerals or other geological materials from the earth, from an ore body, vein or seam. The term also includes the removal of soil. Materials recovered by mining include base metals, precious metals, iron, uranium, coal, diamonds, limestone, oil shale, rock...

, the iron and steel industry
Steel
Steel is an alloy that consists mostly of iron and has a carbon content between 0.2% and 2.1% by weight, depending on the grade. Carbon is the most common alloying material for iron, but various other alloying elements are used, such as manganese, chromium, vanadium, and tungsten...

, and railroading. Birmingham was named for Birmingham
Birmingham
Birmingham is a city and metropolitan borough in the West Midlands of England. It is the most populous British city outside the capital London, with a population of 1,036,900 , and lies at the heart of the West Midlands conurbation, the second most populous urban area in the United Kingdom with a...

, one of the major industrial cities of the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

. Most of the original settlers who founded Birmingham were of English ancestry. The city was planned as a place where cheap, non-unionized, and African-American labor from rural Alabama could be employed in the city's steel mills and blast furnaces, giving it a competitive advantage over industrial cities in the Midwest and Northeast
Northeastern United States
The Northeastern United States is a region of the United States as defined by the United States Census Bureau.-Composition:The region comprises nine states: the New England states of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont; and the Mid-Atlantic states of New...

.

From its founding through the end of the 1960s, Birmingham was a primary industrial center of the South
Southern United States
The Southern United States—commonly referred to as the American South, Dixie, or simply the South—constitutes a large distinctive area in the southeastern and south-central United States...

. The pace of Birmingham's growth during the period from 1881 through 1920 earned its nicknames The Magic City and The Pittsburgh of the South. Much like Pittsburgh, Birmingham's major industries were iron and steel production, plus a major component of the railroading industry, where rails and railroad cars were both manufactured in Birmingham. In the field of railroading, the two primary hubs of railroading in the Deep South
Deep South
The Deep South is a descriptive category of the cultural and geographic subregions in the American South. Historically, it is differentiated from the "Upper South" as being the states which were most dependent on plantation type agriculture during the pre-Civil War period...

 were nearby Atlanta and Birmingham, beginning in the 1860s and continuing through to the present day. The economy diversified during the later half of the twentieth century. Though the manufacturing industry maintains a strong presence in Birmingham, other businesses and industries such as banking, telecommunications, transportation, electrical power transmission, medical care, college education, and insurance have risen in stature. Mining in the Birmingham area is no longer a major industry with the exception of coal mining
Coal mining
The goal of coal mining is to obtain coal from the ground. Coal is valued for its energy content, and since the 1880s has been widely used to generate electricity. Steel and cement industries use coal as a fuel for extraction of iron from iron ore and for cement production. In the United States,...

. Birmingham ranks as one of the most important business centers in the Southeastern United States
Southeastern United States
The Southeastern United States, colloquially referred to as the Southeast, is the eastern portion of the Southern United States. It is one of the most populous regions in the United States of America....

 and is also one of the largest banking centers in the United States. In addition, the Birmingham area serves as headquarters to one Fortune 500
Fortune 500
The Fortune 500 is an annual list compiled and published by Fortune magazine that ranks the top 500 U.S. closely held and public corporations as ranked by their gross revenue after adjustments made by Fortune to exclude the impact of excise taxes companies collect. The list includes publicly and...

 company: Regions Financial
Regions Financial
Regions Financial Corporation is a publicly held company based in Birmingham, Alabama, USA, with the corporate headquarters at the Regions Center...

. Five Fortune 1000
Fortune 1000
Fortune 1000 is a reference to a list maintained by the American business magazine Fortune. The list is of the 1000 largest American companies, ranked on revenues alone...

 companies are headquartered in Birmingham.

In the field of college and university education, Birmingham has been the location of the UAB School of Medicine
University of Alabama School of Medicine
The University of Alabama School of Medicine at the University of Alabama at Birmingham is a public medical school located in Birmingham, Alabama. The UAB School of Medicine has branch campuses in Huntsville and at the University of Alabama College of Community Health Sciences in Tuscaloosa...

 and the University of Alabama School of Dentistry
University of Alabama School of Dentistry
The University of Alabama School of Dentistry is a public dental school located in Birmingham, Alabama...

 since 1947, and since that time, it has also become provided with the University of Alabama at Birmingham
University of Alabama at Birmingham
The University of Alabama at Birmingham is a public university in Birmingham in the U.S. state of Alabama. Developing from an extension center established in 1936, the institution became an autonomous institution in 1969 and is today one of three institutions in the University of Alabama System...

 (founded circa 1969), one of three main campuses of the University of Alabama
University of Alabama
The University of Alabama is a public coeducational university located in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, United States....

, and also with the private Birmingham-Southern College
Birmingham-Southern College
Birmingham–Southern College is a 4-year, private liberal arts college located three miles northwest of downtown Birmingham. Founded in 1856, it is affiliated with the United Methodist Church. Approximately 1400 students from 30 states and 23 foreign countries attend the college...

. Between these two universities and Samford University
Samford University
Samford University, founded as Howard College is a private, coeducational, Alabama Baptist Convention-affiliated university located in Homewood, a suburb of Birmingham, Alabama, United States. It includes the , Cumberland School of Law, McWhorter School of Pharmacy, Brock School of Business, Ida V....

, the Birmingham area has major colleges of medicine, dentistry, optometry, pharmacy, law, engineering, and nursing. Birmingham is home to three of the state's five law schools: Cumberland School of Law
Cumberland School of Law
Cumberland School of Law is an ABA accredited law school at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama. The 11th oldest law school in the United States, it is 160 years old and has more than 11,000 graduates. Its alumni include two United States Supreme Court Justices; Nobel Peace Prize recipient...

, Birmingham School of Law
Birmingham School of Law
The Birmingham School of Law is a state accredited law school located in Birmingham, Alabama. Founded in 1915 by Judge Hugh A. Locke, a judge of the Chancery Court and president of the , the Birmingham School of Law offers a part-time program of study in which graduates receive the Juris Doctor ...

, and Miles Law School
Miles Law School
Miles Law School is a state accredited law school located in Birmingham, Alabama. It is independent of Miles College.Miles Law School was founded on August 26, 1974. Among the founders were Bishop C. A. Kirkendoll of the C.M.E. Church, Dr. W. Clyde Williams, former president of Miles College,...

. Birmingham is also the headquarters of the Southeastern Conference
Southeastern Conference
The Southeastern Conference is an American college athletic conference that operates in the southeastern part of the United States. It is headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama...

, one of the major United States collegiate athletic conferences.

Founding and early growth


Birmingham was founded on June 1, 1871, by the Elyton Land Company whose investors included cotton planters, bankers and railroad entrepreneurs. It sold lots near the planned crossing of the Alabama & Chattanooga and South & North Alabama railroads including land formerly a part of the Benjamin P. Worthington Plantation. The first business at that crossroads was the trading post and country store operated by Marre & Allen. The site of the railroad crossing was notable for the nearby deposits of iron ore, coal, and limestone
Limestone
Limestone is a sedimentary rock composed largely of the minerals calcite and aragonite, which are different crystal forms of calcium carbonate . Many limestones are composed from skeletal fragments of marine organisms such as coral or foraminifera....

 – the three main raw materials used in making steel. Birmingham is the only place worldwide where significant amounts of all three minerals can be found in close proximity. From the start the new city was planned as a great center of industry. The founders, organized as the Elyton Land Company, borrowed the name of Birmingham, one of England's main industrial cities, to advertise that point. The growth of the planned city was impeded by an outbreak of cholera
Cholera
Cholera is an infection of the small intestine that is caused by the bacterium Vibrio cholerae. The main symptoms are profuse watery diarrhea and vomiting. Transmission occurs primarily by drinking or eating water or food that has been contaminated by the diarrhea of an infected person or the feces...

 and a Wall Street
Wall Street
Wall Street refers to the financial district of New York City, named after and centered on the eight-block-long street running from Broadway to South Street on the East River in Lower Manhattan. Over time, the term has become a metonym for the financial markets of the United States as a whole, or...

 crash in 1873. However, it began to grow shortly afterward at an explosive rate.

The town of Elyton, Alabama, and several other surrounding towns were absorbed into Birmingham in 1911.

The turn of the century brought the substantial growth that gave Birmingham the nickname "The Magic City" as the downtown area developed from a low-rise commercial and residential district into a busy grid of neoclassical mid-rise and high-rise buildings and busy streetcar lines. Between 1902 and 1912 four large office buildings were constructed at the intersection of 20th Street, the central north–south spine of the city, and 1st Avenue North, which connected the warehouses and industrial facilities stretching along the east–west railroad corridor. This impressive group of early skyscrapers was nicknamed "The Heaviest Corner on Earth
Heaviest Corner on Earth
The Heaviest Corner on Earth is a promotional name given to the corner of 20th Street and 1st Avenue North in Birmingham, Alabama, United States, in the early 20th century...

".
The Great Depression
Great Depression
The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression in the decade preceding World War II. The timing of the Great Depression varied across nations, but in most countries it started in about 1929 and lasted until the late 1930s or early 1940s...

 hit Birmingham especially hard as sources of capital that were fueling the city's growth rapidly dried up at the same time that farm laborers, driven off the land, made their way to the city in search of work. New Deal
New Deal
The New Deal was a series of economic programs implemented in the United States between 1933 and 1936. They were passed by the U.S. Congress during the first term of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The programs were Roosevelt's responses to the Great Depression, and focused on what historians call...

 programs made important contributions to the city's infrastructure and artistic legacy, including such key improvements as Vulcan's
Vulcan statue
The Vulcan statue is the largest cast iron statue in the world, and is the city symbol of Birmingham, Alabama, reflecting its roots in the iron and steel industry. The tall statue depicts the Roman god Vulcan, god of the fire and forge. It was created as Birmingham's entry for the Louisiana...

 tower and Oak Mountain State Park
Oak Mountain State Park
Oak Mountain State Park is Alabama's largest state park at . It is located in Pelham, Alabama and is convenient to Birmingham, Alabama's largest city....

.

The wartime demand for steel and the post-war building boom gave Birmingham a rapid return to prosperity. Manufacturing diversified beyond the production of raw materials and major civic institutions such as schools, parks and museums, were able to expand their scope.

Birmingham civil rights movement


In the 1950s and 1960s Birmingham received national and international attention as a center of the civil rights struggle for African-Americans. Locally the movement's activists were led by Fred Shuttlesworth
Fred Shuttlesworth
Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth, born Freddie Lee Robinson, was a U.S. civil rights activist who led the fight against segregation and other forms of racism as a minister in Birmingham, Alabama...

, a fiery preacher who became legendary for his fearlessness in the face of violence, notably a string of racially motivated bombings that earned Birmingham the derisive nickname "Bombingham".

A watershed in the civil rights movement occurred in 1963 when Shuttlesworth requested that Martin Luther King, Jr.
Martin Luther King, Jr.
Martin Luther King, Jr. was an American clergyman, activist, and prominent leader in the African-American Civil Rights Movement. He is best known for being an iconic figure in the advancement of civil rights in the United States and around the world, using nonviolent methods following the...

, and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference
Southern Christian Leadership Conference
The Southern Christian Leadership Conference is an African-American civil rights organization. SCLC was closely associated with its first president, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr...

 (SCLC), which Shuttlesworth had co-founded, come to Birmingham, where King had once been a pastor, to help end segregation. Together they launched "Project C" (for "Confrontation"), a massive assault on the Jim Crow system
Jim Crow laws
The Jim Crow laws were state and local laws in the United States enacted between 1876 and 1965. They mandated de jure racial segregation in all public facilities, with a supposedly "separate but equal" status for black Americans...

. During April and May daily sit-ins and mass marches organized and led by movement leader James Bevel
James Bevel
James L. Bevel was an American minister and leader of the 1960s Civil Rights Movement who, as the Director of Direct Action and Director of Nonviolent Education of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference initiated, strategized, directed, and developed SCLC's three major successes of the era:...

 were met with police repression, tear gas, attack dogs, fire hoses, and arrests. More than 3,000 people were arrested during these protests, almost all of them high-school age children. These protests were ultimately successful, leading not only to desegregation of public accommodations in Birmingham but also the Civil Rights Act of 1964
Civil Rights Act of 1964
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was a landmark piece of legislation in the United States that outlawed major forms of discrimination against African Americans and women, including racial segregation...

.

While imprisoned for having taken part in a nonviolent protest, Dr. King wrote the now famous Letter from Birmingham Jail
Letter from Birmingham Jail
The Letter from Birmingham Jail or Letter from Birmingham City Jail, also known as The Negro Is Your Brother, is an open letter written on April 16, 1963, by Martin Luther King, Jr., an American civil rights leader...

, a defining treatise in his cause against segregation. Birmingham is also known for a bombing which occurred later that year, in which four black girls were killed by a bomb planted at the 16th Street Baptist Church
16th Street Baptist Church bombing
The 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama was bombed on Sunday, September 15, 1963. The explosion at the African-American church, which killed four girls, marked a turning point in the U.S...

. The event would inspire the African-American poet Dudley Randall's
Dudley Randall
Dudley Randall was an African American poet and poetry publisher from Detroit, Michigan. He founded a publishing company called Broadside Press in 1965, which published many leading African American writers. Randall's most famous poem is "The Ballad of Birmingham", written during the 1960s, about...

 opus, "The Ballad of Birmingham
The Ballad of Birmingham
Ballad of Birmingham is a 1969 poem by Dudley Randall. It was written in response to the 1963 bombing at the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama. The poem was set to music by Jerry Moore in 1967....

", as well as jazz musician John Coltrane
John Coltrane
John William Coltrane was an American jazz saxophonist and composer. Working in the bebop and hard bop idioms early in his career, Coltrane helped pioneer the use of modes in jazz and later was at the forefront of free jazz...

's song "Alabama".

In 1998 the Birmingham Pledge, written by local attorney James Rotch, was introduced at the Martin Luther King Unity Breakfast. As a grassroots community commitment to combating racism and prejudice, it has since then been used for programs in all fifty states and in more than twenty countries.

Recent history


In the 1970s urban renewal efforts focused around the development of the University of Alabama at Birmingham, which developed into a major medical and research center. In 1971 Birmingham celebrated its centennial with a round of public works improvements, including the upgrading of Vulcan Park. Birmingham's banking institutions enjoyed considerable growth as well and new skyscrapers started to appear in the city center for the first time since the 1920s. These projects helped the city's economy to diversify, but did not prevent the exodus of many of the city's residents to independent suburbs. In 1979 Birmingham elected Dr. Richard Arrington Jr.
Richard Arrington Jr.
Richard Arrington Jr. was the first African American mayor of the city of Birmingham, Alabama , serving 20 years, from 1979 to 1999. He replaced David Vann and, upon retiring after five terms in office, installed then-City Council president William A. Bell as interim mayor...

 as its first African-American mayor.

The population inside Birmingham's city limits has fallen over the past few decades, due in large part to "white flight
White flight
White flight has been a term that originated in the United States, starting in the mid-20th century, and applied to the large-scale migration of whites of various European ancestries from racially mixed urban regions to more racially homogeneous suburban or exurban regions. It was first seen as...

" from the city of Birmingham proper to surrounding suburbs. From 340,887 in 1960, the population was down to 242,820 in 2000, a loss of about 29 percent. By 2009 Census estimates place Birmingham's population at 230,650. That same period saw a corresponding rise in the populations of the suburban communities of Hoover, Vestavia Hills, Alabaster, and Gardendale, none of which were incorporated as municipalities until after 1950.

Today, Birmingham has begun to experience a bit of a rebirth. Money has been invested in reconstructing the downtown area into a 24-hour mixed-use district. The market for downtown lofts and condominiums has mushroomed while restaurant, retail and cultural options are beginning to sprout up. In 2006 the visitors bureau selected "the diverse city" as a new tag line for the city.

Geography


Birmingham occupies Jones Valley, flanked by long parallel mountain ridges (the tailing ends of the Appalachian
Appalachian Mountains
The Appalachian Mountains #Whether the stressed vowel is or ,#Whether the "ch" is pronounced as a fricative or an affricate , and#Whether the final vowel is the monophthong or the diphthong .), often called the Appalachians, are a system of mountains in eastern North America. The Appalachians...

 foothills – see Ridge-and-Valley Appalachians
Ridge-and-valley Appalachians
The Ridge-and-Valley Appalachians, also called the Ridge and Valley Province or the Valley and Ridge Appalachians, are a physiographic province of the larger Appalachian division and are also a belt within the Appalachian Mountains extending from southeastern New York through northwestern New...

) running from north-east to south-west. The valley is drained by small creeks (Village Creek, Valley Creek) which flow into the Black Warrior River. The valley was bisected by the principal railroad corridor, along which most of the early manufacturing operations began.

Red Mountain lies immediately south of downtown. Many of Birmingham's television and radio
Radio
Radio is the transmission of signals through free space by modulation of electromagnetic waves with frequencies below those of visible light. Electromagnetic radiation travels by means of oscillating electromagnetic fields that pass through the air and the vacuum of space...

 broadcast towers are lined up along this prominent ridge. The "Over the Mountain" area, including Shades Valley, Shades Mountain and beyond, was largely shielded from the industrial smoke and rough streets of the industrial city. This is the setting for Birmingham's more affluent suburbs of Mountain Brook
Mountain Brook, Alabama
Mountain Brook is a city in southeastern Jefferson County, Alabama, and a suburb of Birmingham. According to 2005 Census Bureau estimates, the population of the city is 20,821. Mountain Brook is a particularly affluent city within the Birmingham metropolitan area and has appeared in several lists...

, Vestavia Hills
Vestavia Hills, Alabama
Vestavia Hills is a city in Jefferson and Shelby Counties in the U.S. state of Alabama. It is a suburb of the city of Birmingham.-History:Vestavia Hills is named for the estate of former Birmingham mayor George B. Ward. It was situated on the crest of Shades Mountain in what is now the northern...

, Homewood
Homewood, Alabama
Homewood is a city in southeastern Jefferson County, Alabama, United States. It is a suburb of Birmingham, located on the other side of Red Mountain due south of the city center. It has one of the highest population densities in Alabama. As of 2009 Census Bureau estimates, the population of the...

, and Hoover
Hoover, Alabama
Hoover is a city in Jefferson and Shelby Counties in north central Alabama, in the United States. The largest suburb of Birmingham, the population of the city was 62,742 as of the 2000 census and 81,619 in the 2010 census. Hoover is part of the Birmingham-Hoover, AL MSA and is also included in the...

. South of Shades Valley is the Cahaba River
Cahaba River
The Cahaba River is the longest free-flowing river in Alabama and is among the most scenic and biologically diverse rivers in the United States. The Cahaba River is a major tributary of the Alabama River and part of the larger Mobile River Basin...

 basin, one of the most diverse river ecosystems in the United States.

Sand Mountain
Sand Mountain (Alabama)
Sand Mountain is a sandstone plateau in northeastern Alabama and northwestern Georgia. It is part of the southern tip of the Appalachian mountain chain. Geologically a continuation of Walden Ridge, Sand Mountain is part of the Cumberland Plateau, separated from the main portion of the plateau by...

, a smaller ridge, flanks the city to the north and divides Jones Valley from much more rugged land to the north. The Louisville and Nashville Railroad
Louisville and Nashville Railroad
The Louisville and Nashville Railroad was a Class I railroad that operated freight and passenger services in the southeast United States.Chartered by the state of Kentucky in 1850, the L&N, as it was generally known, grew into one of the great success stories of American business...

 (now CSX Transportation
CSX Transportation
CSX Transportation operates a Class I railroad in the United States known as the CSX Railroad. It is the main subsidiary of the CSX Corporation. The company is headquartered in Jacksonville, Florida, and owns approximately 21,000 route miles...

) enters the valley through Boyles Gap, a prominent gap in the long low ridge.

Ruffner Mountain
Ruffner Mountain Park
Ruffner Mountain Nature Center is a nature preserve located in the eastern portions of Jefferson County, Alabama near Birmingham's suburb, Irondale. The preserve includes a visitor center containing native Alabama animals including raptors, snakes, turtles and owls. The Ruffner Mountain area was...

, located due east of the heart of the city, is home to Ruffner Mountain Nature Center, one of the largest urban nature reserves in the United States.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 151.9 square miles (393.4 km²), of which, 149.9 square miles (388.2 km²) of it is land and 2 square miles (5.2 km²) of it (1.34%) is water.

Climate


Birmingham has a humid subtropical climate
Humid subtropical climate
A humid subtropical climate is a climate zone characterized by hot, humid summers and mild to cool winters...

, characterized by hot summers, mild winters, and abundant rainfall. January sees average highs in the low to mid 50s °F (10-13 °C), with lows just above freezing, falling to that point on 55 nights per year. In July temperatures are in the low 90s °F (32-34 °C), with lows averaging around 70 °F (21.1 °C); highs exceed 90 °F (32.2 °C) on 58 days per year and 100 °F (37.8 °C) on 2 or 3. Precipitation is relatively well-distributed throughout the year, sometimes falling in the form of snow during winter; however, 10.3 inches (26.2 cm) fell on March 13, 1993, during the 1993 Storm of the Century, which left the highest one-storm and daily snowfall total.

The spring and fall months are pleasant but variable as cold fronts frequently bring strong to severe thunderstorms and occasional tornadoes to the region. The fall season features less rainfall and fewer storms, as well as lower humidity than the spring, but it is also a secondary severe weather season. Birmingham is located on the heart of a Tornado Alley
Tornado Alley
Tornado Alley is a colloquial and popular media term that most often refers to the area of the United States where tornadoes are most frequent. Although an official location is not defined, the area between the Rocky Mountains and Appalachian Mountains is usually associated with it.The areas...

 known as the Dixie Alley
Dixie Alley
Dixie Alley is a nickname sometimes given to areas of the southern United States that are particularly vulnerable to strong or violent tornadoes...

 due to the frequency of tornadoes in Central Alabama. The greater Birmingham area has been hit by two F5 tornadoes; one in Birmingham's northern suburbs in 1977
Birmingham Tornado of April 1977
The April 1977 Birmingham tornado was a powerful tornado that struck the northern suburbs of the Greater Birmingham Area in central Alabama during the afternoon of April 4, 1977.-Birmingham tornado:...

, and second in the western suburbs in 1998
Birmingham Tornado of April 1998
The Birmingham Tornado was a tornadic event that occurred on April 8, 1998 striking the western part of Jefferson County, Alabama, near Birmingham, and continuing into neighboring St. Clair County. It was part of a larger outbreak that started on April 6 across the Great Plains and ended on April 9...

. The area has been hit by an EF4 tornado in 2011
April 25–28, 2011 tornado outbreak
An extremely large and violent tornado outbreak, the largest tornado outbreak ever recorded, and popularly known as the 2011 Super Outbreak, occurred from April 25 to 28, 2011. The outbreak affected the Southern, Midwestern, and Northeastern United States, leaving catastrophic destruction in...

. In late summer and fall months, Birmingham experiences occasional tropical storms and hurricanes due to its proximity to the Central Gulf Coast.

The record high temperature is 107 °F (41.7 °C), set on July 29, 1930, and the record low is −6 °F (−21.1 °C), set on January 21, 1985.

Government

Current City Council Membership
District Representative Position
1 LaShunda Scales
2 Kim Rafferty
3 Valerie A. Abbott
4 Maxine Parker
5 Johnathan Austin
6 Carole Smitherman
7 James E. Roberson, Jr.
8 Steven Hoyt President Pro-Tem
9 Roderick Royal President


Birmingham has a strong-mayor variant mayor-council
Mayor-council government
The mayor–council government system, sometimes called the mayor–commission government system, is one of the two most common forms of local government for municipalities...

 form of government, led by a mayor and a nine-member city council. The current system replaced the previous city commission government
City commission government
City commission government is a form of municipal government which once was common in the United States, but many cities which were formerly governed by commission have since switched to the council-manager form of government...

 in 1962 (primarily as a way to remove Commissioner of Public Safety Eugene "Bull" Connor
Bull Connor
Theophilus Eugene "Bull" Connor was the Commissioner of Public Safety for the city of Birmingham, Alabama, during the American Civil Rights Movement...

 from power).
By Alabama law, an issue before a city council must be approved by a two-thirds majority vote (Act No. 452, Ala. Acts 1955, as supplemented by Act No. 294, Ala. Acts 1965.). Executive powers are held entirely by the Mayor's Office. Birmingham's current Mayor is William A. Bell. Mayor Bell, who previously served as interim Mayor in 1999, won a special election on January 19, 2010, to fill the unexpired term of former Mayor Larry Langford
Larry Langford
Larry Paul Langford is the former mayor of the city of Birmingham, Alabama. He previously served on the Jefferson County, Alabama, Commission, including four years as the first African American commission president. He also served as mayor of Fairfield, Alabama, and served one term on the...

. Langford was removed from office after being convicted of federal corruption charges on October 28, 2009.

In 1974 Birmingham established a structured network of neighborhood associations and community advisory committees to insure public participation in governmental issues that affect neighborhoods. Neighborhood associations are routinely consulted on matters related to zoning changes, liquor licenses, economic development, policing and other city services. Neighborhoods are also granted discretionary funds from the city's budget to use for capital improvements. Each neighborhood's officers meet with their peers to form Community Advisory Committees which are granted broader powers over city departments. The presidents of these committees, in turn, form the Citizen's Advisory Board, which meets regularly with the mayor, council, and department heads. Birmingham is divided into a total of 23 communities, and again into a total of 99 individual neighborhoods with individual neighborhood associations.

State and federal representation


The United States Postal Service
United States Postal Service
The United States Postal Service is an independent agency of the United States government responsible for providing postal service in the United States...

 operates post offices in Birmingham. The main post office is located at 351 24th Street North in Downtown Birmingham. Birmingham is also the home of the Social Security Administration's Southeastern Program Service Center. This center is one of only seven in the United States that process Social Security entitlement claims and payments. In addition, Birmingham is the home of a branch bank of the Atlanta Federal Reserve Bank
Federal Reserve Bank
The twelve Federal Reserve Banks form a major part of the Federal Reserve System, the central banking system of the United States. The twelve federal reserve banks together divide the nation into twelve Federal Reserve Districts, the twelve banking districts created by the Federal Reserve Act of...

.

Economy


From Birmingham's early days onward, the steel industry has always played a crucial role in the local economy. Though the steel industry no longer has the same prominence it once held in Birmingham, steel production and processing continue to play a key role in the economy. Several of the nation's largest steelmakers, including CMC Steel, U.S. Steel
U.S. Steel
The United States Steel Corporation , more commonly known as U.S. Steel, is an integrated steel producer with major production operations in the United States, Canada, and Central Europe. The company is the world's tenth largest steel producer ranked by sales...

, McWane
McWane
McWane, Inc. is one of the world's largest manufacturers of iron water works and plumbing products and one of America’s largest privately owned companies. The company manufactures products including ductile iron pipe and fittings, fire hydrants, cast iron soil pipe and fittings, and related products...

, and Nucor
Nucor
Nucor Corporation , a Fortune 300 company headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina, is one of the largest steel producers in the United States, and the largest of the "mini-mill" operators...

, all have a major presence in Birmingham. In recent years, local steel companies have announced about $100 million worth of investment in expansions and new plants in and around Birmingham.
In the 1970s and 1980s, Birmingham's economy was transformed by investments in bio-technology and medical research at the University of Alabama at Birmingham
University of Alabama at Birmingham
The University of Alabama at Birmingham is a public university in Birmingham in the U.S. state of Alabama. Developing from an extension center established in 1936, the institution became an autonomous institution in 1969 and is today one of three institutions in the University of Alabama System...

 (UAB) and its adjacent hospital. The UAB Hospital is a Level I trauma center providing health care and breakthrough medical research. UAB is now the area's largest employer and the second largest in Alabama with a workforce of about 18,750 as of 2011. Health care services provider HealthSouth
HealthSouth
HealthSouth Corporation , based in Birmingham, Alabama, is the nation’s largest owner and operator of inpatient rehabilitative hospitals. Operating in 26 states across the country and in Puerto Rico, HealthSouth serves patients through its network of inpatient rehabilitation hospitals , outpatient...

, Surgical Care Affiliates
Surgical Care Affiliates
Surgical Care Affiliates, LLC, headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama operates a network of 150 ambulatory surgery centers and surgical hospitals across the country with approximately 3,700 full-time employees and more than 2,000 physician partners...

 and Diagnostic Health Corporation
Diagnostic Health Corporation
Diagnostic Health Corporation, based in Birmingham, Alabama, is one of the nation's largest independent diagnostic imaging companies. The company is the former diagnostic division of HealthSouth Corporation. The company has network of 53 free standing diagnostic imaging centers located in 19 states...

 are also headquartered in the city.Caremark Rx
Caremark Rx
Caremark Pharmacy Services is the prescription benefit management subsidiary of CVS Caremark Corporation, headquartered in Woonsocket, Rhode Island and Nashville, Tennessee.-Company history:...

 was also founded in the city.

Birmingham is also a leading banking center, serving as home to two major banks: Regions Financial Corporation and BBVA Compass. SouthTrust
SouthTrust
SouthTrust Corporation was a banking company headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama. In 2004, SouthTrust reached an agreement to merge with Wachovia in a stock-for-stock deal. At the time of the merger with Wachovia was completed, SouthTrust had $53 Billion in assets. SouthTrust was listed on the...

, another large bank headquartered in Birmingham, was acquired by Wachovia
Wachovia
Wachovia was a diversified financial services company based in Charlotte, North Carolina. Before its acquisition by Wells Fargo in 2008, Wachovia was the fourth-largest bank holding company in the United States based on total assets...

 in 2004. The city still has major operations as one of the regional headquarters of Wachovia, which itself is now part of Wells Fargo Bank. In November 2006, Regions Financial merged with AmSouth Bancorporation
AmSouth Bancorporation
AmSouth Bancorporation was a banking company headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama, and operated for its final year in existence as a bank holding company of Regions Financial Corporation after a merger between the two banks. AmSouth was previously known as First National Bank of Birmingham, which...

, which was also headquartered in Birmingham. They formed the 8th largest U.S. bank (by total assets). Nearly a dozen smaller banks are also headquartered in the Magic City, such as Superior Bank and (until its failure in 2009) New South Federal Savings Bank. As of 2009, the finance & banking sector in Birmingham employed 1,870 financial managers, 1,530 loan officers, 680 securities commodities and financial services sales agents, 380 financial analysts, 310 financial examiners, 220 credit analysts, and 130 loan counselors.
The telephone company that is now owned by AT&T
AT&T
AT&T Inc. is an American multinational telecommunications corporation headquartered in Whitacre Tower, Dallas, Texas, United States. It is the largest provider of mobile telephony and fixed telephony in the United States, and is also a provider of broadband and subscription television services...

, which was formerly BellSouth
BellSouth
BellSouth Corporation is an American telecommunications holding company based in Atlanta, Georgia. BellSouth was one of the seven original Regional Bell Operating Companies after the U.S...

 and before that South Central Bell
South Central Bell
South Central Bell Telephone Company, headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama, was the name of the Bell System's operations in Alabama, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Tennessee...

, which had its headquarters in Birmingham, has a major nexus in Birmingham, supported by a skyscraper downtown.

The insurance companies Protective Life
Protective Life
Protective Life Corporation, headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama, is a Fortune 1000 holding company whose subsidiaries provide financial services through the production, distribution, and administration of insurance and investment products. Protective Life Insurance Company was founded in 1907 by...

, Infinity Property & Casualty, ProAssurance, and Liberty National have their headquarters in Birmingham, and these employ a large number of people in Greater Birmingham.

Birmingham is also a powerhouse of construction and engineering companies, including BE&K
BE&K
BE&K, Inc., based in Birmingham, Alabama, is a global engineering and construction company. BE&K is named after its founders Peter Bolvig, William Edmonds, and Ted Kennedy and was founded in 1972 after the three men left the Birmingham based Rust International to start their own company. The...

, Brasfield & Gorrie
Brasfield & Gorrie
Brasfield & Gorrie, LLC is a privately held construction management, general contractor|general contracting, and design-build service provider. Founded in 1921 by Thomas C. Brasfield as the Thomas C...

 and B.L. Harbert International
B.L. Harbert International
B.L. Harbert International, LLC, based in Birmingham, Alabama, began construction operations in 2000 under the leadership of Billy L. Harbert. The company was originally founded as the Harbert International division of Harbert Corporation. B.L. Harbert has two main operating divisions, the U.S....

 which routinely are included in the Engineering News-Record
Engineering News-Record
Engineering News-Record is a weekly magazine that provides news, analysis, data and opinion for the construction industry worldwide...

 lists of top design and international construction firms.

Two of the largest soft-drink bottlers in the United States, each with more than $500 million in sales per year, are located in Birmingham. The Buffalo Rock Company, founded in 1901, was formerly a maker of just ginger ale
Ginger ale
Ginger ale is a carbonated soft drink flavored with ginger. Dr. Thomas Cantrell, an American apothecary and surgeon, claimed to have invented ginger ale and marketed it with beverage manufacturer Grattan and Company. Grattan embossed the slogan "The Original Makers of Ginger Ale" on its bottles...

, but now it is a major bottler for the Pepsi Cola Company, and the Coca-Cola Bottling Company, United
Coca-Cola Bottling Company, United
Coca-Cola Bottling Company United, Inc., based in Birmingham, Alabama, is a private company. Of the 500 in the United States, it is the third largest bottler of Coca-Cola products in the United States and the second largest in which The Coca-Cola Company does not own an interest.Chiefly independent...

, founded in 1902, is the third-largest bottler of Coca-Cola products in the United States.

The Birmingham metropolitan area has consistently been rated as one of America's best places to work and earn a living based on the area's competitive salary rates and relatively low living expenses. One study published in 2006 at the Web site Salary.com determined that Birmingham was second in the nation for building personal net worth, based on local salary rates, living expenses, and unemployment rates.

A 2006 study by web site bizjournals.com calculated Birmingham's "combined personal income" (the sum of all money earned by all residents of an area in a year) at $48.1 billion.

Although Jefferson County's bankruptcy filing was the largest government bankruptcy in United States history, Birmingham remains solvent.

Education


The city of Birmingham is served by the Birmingham City Schools
Birmingham City Schools
Birmingham City Schools is the public school district that serves the U.S. city of Birmingham, Alabama.It is currently the fourth largest school system in Alabama behind Mobile County Public School System, Jefferson County School System, and Montgomery Public Schools...

 system. It is run by the Birmingham Board of Education with a current active enrollment of 30,500 in 67 schools: seven high schools, 13 middle schools, 33 elementary schools, and nine kindergarten
Kindergarten
A kindergarten is a preschool educational institution for children. The term was created by Friedrich Fröbel for the play and activity institute that he created in 1837 in Bad Blankenburg as a social experience for children for their transition from home to school...

-eighth-grade primary schools.

The Birmingham Public Library with 21 branches serves the entire community to provide education and entertainment for all ages.

The greater-Birmingham metropolitan area is the home of numerous independent school systems, because there has a been a great deal of fragmentation of educational systems in Alabama, and especially in Jefferson County. Some of these "school systems" only have three to five schools. The metropolitan area's three largest school systems are the Jefferson County School System
Jefferson County Board of Education (Alabama)
The Jefferson County School System is the second-largest public school system in the U.S. State of Alabama and serves most of Jefferson County, Alabama...

, Birmingham City Schools, and the Shelby County School System. However, there are many, many smaller school systems.

The Birmingham area is reputed to be the home of some of Alabama's best high schools, colleges, and universities. In 2005, the Jefferson County International Baccalaureate School
Jefferson County International Baccalaureate School
Jefferson County International Baccalaureate School is a public International Baccalaureate school located on the campus of Shades Valley High School in Irondale, Alabama in Jefferson County...

 in Irondale
Irondale, Alabama
Irondale is a city adjacent to Birmingham, Alabama, United States northeast from Homewood and Mountain Brook. At the 2010 census the population was 12,349. The book Fried Green Tomatoes, by Irondale native Fannie Flagg, is loosely based around the town and the landmark Irondale Cafe, known as The...

, an eastern suburb of Birmingham, was rated as the #1 high school in America by Newsweek
Newsweek
Newsweek is an American weekly news magazine published in New York City. It is distributed throughout the United States and internationally. It is the second-largest news weekly magazine in the U.S., having trailed Time in circulation and advertising revenue for most of its existence...

, a national publication. The school remains among the nation's top 5 high schools. Mountain Brook High School
Mountain Brook High School
Mountain Brook High School is a three-year public high school within the city of Mountain Brook, Alabama, a residential area of Birmingham, with approximately 20,600 residents. It is the lone high school in the Mountain Brook School System and is situated on of land.Mountain Brook High School...

 placed 250th on the list. Other local schools that have been rated among America's best in various publications include Homewood High School
Homewood High School
Homewood High School is a public high school, serving grades 9-12, in Homewood, Alabama, a suburb of Birmingham, Alabama. It is the only high school in the Homewood City School System. The student enrollment for the 2009-2010 academic year was approximately 1,000. The current principal is Dr....

, Vestavia Hills High School
Vestavia Hills High School
Vestavia Hills High School , founded in 1970, is a public high school in Vestavia Hills, Alabama, a suburb of Birmingham. Part of the Vestavia Hills School System, the high school is known for the success of its band, math, debate, "We the People" Team, Economics Challenge Team, American football,...

 and the Alabama School of Fine Arts
Alabama School of Fine Arts
The Alabama School of Fine Arts is a public, partially residential high school located in Birmingham, AL. The mission of the Alabama School of Fine Arts, a community of explorers, is to nurture impassioned students by guiding and inspiring them to discover and fulfill their individual creative...

 located downtown. The metro area also has three highly regarded preparatory schools: Saint Rose Academy
Saint Rose Academy
Saint Rose Academy, located in Birmingham, Alabama atop Red Mountain, is a private, co-educational Catholic elementary school run by the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia.-History:...

 located in Birmingham proper The Altamont School, also located in Birmingham proper, and Indian Springs School
Indian Springs School
Indian Springs School is a private school that includes grades eight through twelve with both boarding and day students. It is at the base of Oak Mountain, in Indian Springs Village, Shelby County, Alabama, United States, near Pelham and just outside Birmingham.-History:Indian Springs School was...

 in north Shelby County near Pelham.

Noteworthy institutions of higher education in greater Birmingham include the University of Alabama at Birmingham
University of Alabama at Birmingham
The University of Alabama at Birmingham is a public university in Birmingham in the U.S. state of Alabama. Developing from an extension center established in 1936, the institution became an autonomous institution in 1969 and is today one of three institutions in the University of Alabama System...

, Samford University
Samford University
Samford University, founded as Howard College is a private, coeducational, Alabama Baptist Convention-affiliated university located in Homewood, a suburb of Birmingham, Alabama, United States. It includes the , Cumberland School of Law, McWhorter School of Pharmacy, Brock School of Business, Ida V....

 (includes the Cumberland School of Law
Cumberland School of Law
Cumberland School of Law is an ABA accredited law school at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama. The 11th oldest law school in the United States, it is 160 years old and has more than 11,000 graduates. Its alumni include two United States Supreme Court Justices; Nobel Peace Prize recipient...

), Birmingham School of Law
Birmingham School of Law
The Birmingham School of Law is a state accredited law school located in Birmingham, Alabama. Founded in 1915 by Judge Hugh A. Locke, a judge of the Chancery Court and president of the , the Birmingham School of Law offers a part-time program of study in which graduates receive the Juris Doctor ...

, Miles College
Miles College
Miles College is a historically black college founded in 1898. It is located in Fairfield, Alabama, which is six miles west of Birmingham, Alabama. It is a private liberal arts institution of the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church...

 (includes the Miles Law School
Miles Law School
Miles Law School is a state accredited law school located in Birmingham, Alabama. It is independent of Miles College.Miles Law School was founded on August 26, 1974. Among the founders were Bishop C. A. Kirkendoll of the C.M.E. Church, Dr. W. Clyde Williams, former president of Miles College,...

), Jefferson State Community College
Jefferson State Community College
Jefferson State Community College, more often known as 'Jeff State', is a two-year college in the Alabama Community College System. The current campus locations are the Jefferson Campus in eastern Jefferson County, the Shelby-Hoover Campus in northern Shelby County, the St...

, Birmingham-Southern College
Birmingham-Southern College
Birmingham–Southern College is a 4-year, private liberal arts college located three miles northwest of downtown Birmingham. Founded in 1856, it is affiliated with the United Methodist Church. Approximately 1400 students from 30 states and 23 foreign countries attend the college...

, University of Montevallo
University of Montevallo
The University of Montevallo is a four-year public university located in Montevallo, Alabama, USA. Founded in 1896, it is Alabama's only public liberal arts college and a member of the Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges. Programs are offered through the Michael E...

 (in Shelby County), Lawson State Community College, and Virginia College
Virginia College
Virginia College is a non Regionally Accredited chain of private for-profit post-secondary institutions located primarily in the Southeastern United States. It is a Proprietary college which, in comparison to traditional colleges or universities, offers classes related to specific professions...

 in Birmingham, the largest career college based in Birmingham.

Urban planning in Birmingham


Before the first structure was built in Birmingham, the plan of the city was laid out over a total of 1160 acres (4.7 km²) by the directors of the Elyton Land Co. The streets were numbered from west to east, leaving Twentieth Street to form the central spine of downtown, anchored on the north by Capital Park and stretching into the slopes of Red Mountain to the south. A "railroad reservation" was granted through the center of the city, running east to west and zoned solely for industrial uses. As the city grew, bridges and underpasses separated the streets from the railroad bed, lending this central reservation some of the impact of a river (without the pleasant associations of a waterfront). From the start, Birmingham's streets and avenues were unusually wide at 80 to 100 feet (24 to 30 m), purportedly to help evacuate unhealthy smoke.
In the early 20th century professional planners helped lay out many of the new industrial settlements and company town
Company town
A company town is a town or city in which much or all real estate, buildings , utilities, hospitals, small businesses such as grocery stores and gas stations, and other necessities or luxuries of life within its borders are owned by a single company...

s in the Birmingham District, including Corey (now Fairfield
Fairfield, Alabama
Fairfield is a city in Jefferson County, Alabama, United States. It is part of the Birmingham–Hoover Metropolitan Area. The population was 12,381 at the 2000 census. As of 2006, the Census estimates the population to be 11,547.-History:...

) which was developed for the Tennessee Coal, Iron and Railroad Company (subsequently purchased by U. S. Steel). At the same time, a movement to consolidate several neighboring cities gained momentum. Although local referendums indicated mixed feelings about annexation, the Alabama legislature enacted an expansion of Birmingham's corporate limits that became effective on January 1, 1910.

The Robert Jemison company developed many residential neighborhoods to the south and west of Birmingham which are still renowned for their aesthetic quality.

A 1924 plan for a system of parks, commissioned from the Olmsted Brothers
Olmsted Brothers
The Olmsted Brothers company was an influential landscape design firm in the United States, formed in 1898 by stepbrothers John Charles Olmsted and Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr. .-History:...

 is seeing renewed interest with several significant new parks and greenways under development. Birmingham officials have approved a City Center Master Plan developed by Urban Design Associates of Pittsburgh, which advocates strongly for more residential development in the downtown area. The plan also called for a major park over several blocks of the central railroad reservation: Railroad Park
Railroad Park
Railroad Park is a 19-acre park in Birmingham, Alabama, that opened in the fall of 2010. It was designed by landscape architect Tom Leader and built by Birmingham-based Brasfield & Gorrie. The park lies immediately south of the Norfolk Southern and CSX rail lines through downtown Birmingham. It...

, which opened in 2010. Along with Ruffner Mountain Park, and the proposed Red Mountain Park, Birmingham would rank first in the United States for public green space per resident.

Notable buildings


Tallest buildings
Name Stories Height
Wells Fargo Tower  34 454 ft (138 m)
Regions-Harbert Plaza
Regions-Harbert Plaza
The Regions-Harbert Plaza, is a 32 story, 437 foot office building located in Birmingham, Alabama. The building was originally known as the AmSouth-Harbert Plaza, but was renamed on July 13, 2007 following the merger of the buildings largest tenant AmSouth Bancorporation with Regions Financial...

 
32 437 ft (133 m)
AT&T City Center
AT&T City Center
The AT&T City Center, is a 30 story, 390 foot office building located in Birmingham, Alabama. Completed in 1972,the building was originally known as the South Central Bell Building and served as the corporate headquarters for South Central Bell and its five-state operating territory.In 1998 the...

 
30 390 ft (119 m)
Regions Center  30 390 ft (119 m)
City Federal Building
City Federal Building
The City Federal Building is a skyscraper located on Second Avenue North in Birmingham, Alabama. It was built in 1913 and was designed by architect William C. Weston. It stands 27 stories or 325 feet on the Birmingham skyline.At the time it was completed it was the tallest building in the Southeast...

 
27 325 ft (99 m)
Alabama Power Headquarters Building
Alabama Power Headquarters Building
The Alabama Power Headquarters Building, is an 18 story , corporate headquarters building located in Birmingham, Alabama. The building, completed in 1990 is part of the Alabama Power Headquarters Complex which is composed of four office buildings and a parking garage. The four buildings contain...

 
18 322 ft (98 m)
Leer Tower
Leer Tower
The Thomas Jefferson Hotel is a 20-story building, formerly a 350-room hotel, completed in 1929 at 1631 2nd Avenue North on the western side of downtown Birmingham, Alabama....

 
20 287 ft (87 m)
John Hand Building
John Hand Building
John Hand Building is a mixed-use high rise building in Birmingham, Alabama, USA, with a height of . It was the tallest building in the city until surpassed by the City Federal Condos in 1913. It comprises 20 floors and was completed in 1912. The lower eight floors are for commercial use and the...

 
20 284 ft (87 m)
Daniel Building
Daniel Building
The Daniel Building is a 20 story, 238 foot office building located in downtown Birmingham, Alabama. Built in 1970, the building originally served as a regional office for the engineering and construction company Daniel International...

 
20 283 ft (86 m)

Transportation


Birmingham has one of the most extensive networks of highways and roadways in the Southeast. The city is served by four Interstate Highways, Interstate 20, Interstate 65, Interstate 59, and Interstate 22, as well as a southern bypass expressway Interstate 459
Interstate 459
Interstate 459 is a bypass highway of Interstate 59 that is an alternate Interstate Highway around the southern sides of Birmingham, Alabama, Bessemer, Alabama, and several other cities and towns in Jefferson County. Interstate 459 lies entirely within Jefferson County, without exception...

, which connects with I-20/59 to the southwest, with I-65 the south, I-20 to the east, and I-59 to the northeast. Beginning in downtown Birmingham is the "Elton B. Stephens Expressway" -- the Red Mountain Expressway to the southeast—which carries both U.S. Highway 31 and U.S. Highway 280 to, through, and over Red Mountain. Interstate 22 is on the verge of completion between Birmingham and Memphis, Tennessee, lacking only the final three to four miles that will connect it with I-65 just north of the Birmingham city limits. There have been proposals and plans for the construction of a Northern Beltline Highway on the opposite side of Birmingham from Interstate 459.

In the area of metropolitan public transportation, Birmingham is served by the Birmingham-Jefferson County Transit Authority through the Metro Area Express (MAX) bus system. Also MAX has provided a service within the college called "D A R T".

Birmingham is served by the Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport. This airport serves more than 3 million passengers every year. With more than 160 flights daily, the airport offers flights to 37 cities across the United States. Commercial passenger service through Birmingham is provided by United Express
United Express
United Express is a brand name under which eight regional airlines operate feeder flights for United Airlines. They primarily connect smaller cities with United's domestic hub airports and “focus cities,” although they offer some point-to-point service such as Sacramento to Eureka.As of Sept...

, Delta Air Lines
Delta Air Lines
Delta Air Lines, Inc. is a major airline based in the United States and headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia. The airline operates an extensive domestic and international network serving all continents except Antarctica. Delta and its subsidiaries operate over 4,000 flights every day...

/Delta Connection, American Airlines
American Airlines
American Airlines, Inc. is the world's fourth-largest airline in passenger miles transported and operating revenues. American Airlines is a subsidiary of the AMR Corporation and is headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas adjacent to its largest hub at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport...

/American Eagle, Continental Airlines
Continental Airlines
Continental Airlines was a major American airline now merged with United Airlines. On May 3, 2010, Continental Airlines, Inc. and UAL, Inc. announced a merger via a stock swap, and on October 1, 2010, the merger closed and UAL changed its name to United Continental Holdings, Inc...

/Continental Express
Continental Express
Continental Express is the operating brand name used by a number of independently owned regional airlines providing regional jet feeder service under agreement with Continental Airlines...

, US Airways
US Airways
US Airways, Inc. is a major airline based in the U.S. city of Tempe, Arizona. The airline is an operating unit of US Airways Group and is the sixth largest airline by traffic and eighth largest by market value in the country....

/US Airways Express, and Southwest Airlines
Southwest Airlines
Southwest Airlines Co. is an American low-cost airline based in Dallas, Texas. Southwest is the largest airline in the United States, based upon domestic passengers carried,...

.

Birmingham is served by three major railroad freight companies: the Norfolk Southern Company, CSX Transportation
CSX Transportation
CSX Transportation operates a Class I railroad in the United States known as the CSX Railroad. It is the main subsidiary of the CSX Corporation. The company is headquartered in Jacksonville, Florida, and owns approximately 21,000 route miles...

, and the BNSF Railway
BNSF Railway
The BNSF Railway is a wholly owned subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., and is headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas. It is one of seven North American Class I railroads and the second largest freight railroad network in North America, second only to the Union Pacific Railroad, its primary...

. All three of these have major railroad yards in the metro area. Smaller regional railroads such as the Alabama Warrior Railway
Alabama Warrior Railway
The Alabama Warrior Railway is a terminal railroad as reported by the AAR. The ABWR is headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama within the confines of the Walter Industries/Sloss facility and is owned and operated by the Watco Companies of Pittsburg, Kansas. The railroad operates approximately of...

 and the Birmingham Southern Railroad
Birmingham Southern Railroad
Birmingham Southern Railroad is a subsidiary of Transtar, operator of several short-line railroad companies. The BS operates on 84 miles of track, providing switching services in the Birmingham, Alabama area.-History:...

 also freight customers in Birmingham. Amtrak
Amtrak
The National Railroad Passenger Corporation, doing business as Amtrak , is a government-owned corporation that was organized on May 1, 1971, to provide intercity passenger train service in the United States. "Amtrak" is a portmanteau of the words "America" and "track". It is headquartered at Union...

's Crescent connects Birmingham with the cities and towns of Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington, "the District", or simply D.C., is the capital of the United States. On July 16, 1790, the United States Congress approved the creation of a permanent national capital as permitted by the U.S. Constitution....

 (and points northeast and northwest of that), Greensboro, NC, Charlotte, N.C., Greenville, SC, Atlanta, Anniston, Alabama
Anniston, Alabama
Anniston is a city in Calhoun County in the state of Alabama, United States.As of the 2000 census, the population of the city is 24,276. According to the 2005 U.S. Census estimates, the city had a population of 23,741...

, Tuscaloosa, Meridian, Mississippi
Meridian, Mississippi
Meridian is the county seat of Lauderdale County, Mississippi. It is the sixth largest city in the state and the principal city of the Meridian, Mississippi Micropolitan Statistical Area...

, Hattiesburg, and New Orleans. For the past several decades, the only passenger railroad service in Birmingham has been the Amtrak Crescent, with one train eastbound and one train westbound daily from the Birmingham Station
Birmingham, Alabama (Amtrak station)
The Birmingham Amtrak Station, located in Birmingham, Alabama, is served by the passenger train The Crescent. The street address is 1819 Morris Avenue, and is located in the middle of downtown fronting the railroad reservation. It features a small waiting room and an elevated platforms constructed...

.

Utilities


The water for Birmingham and the intermediate urbanized area is served by the Birmingham Water Works Board (BWWB). A public authority that was established in 1951, the BWWB serves all of Jefferson, northern Shelby, western St. Clair counties. The largest reservoir for BWWB is Lake Purdy, which is located on the Jefferson and Shelby County line, but has several other reservoirs including Bayview Lake in western Jefferson County. There are plans to pipeline water from Inland Lake in Blount County and Lake Logan Martin, but those plans are on hold indefinitely. Jefferson County Environmental Services serves the Birmingham metro area with sanitary sewer service. Sewer rates have increased in recent years after citizens concerned with pollution in area waterways filed a lawsuit that resulted in a federal consent decree to repair an aging sewer system. Because the estimated cost of the consent decree was approximately three times more than the original estimate, many blame the increased rates on corruption within the Jefferson County Environmental Services Department. One major reason for the higher cost was that Jefferson County had to buy the sewers from the many smaller municipalities in the area to ensure that these sewers were being maintained in a fashion that would meet E.P.A. approval to avoid massive fines for failure to comply with the consent decree. This continues to be a controversial topic in the region.

Electric power is provided primarily by Southern Company
Southern Company
Southern Company is a public utility holding company of primarily electric utilities in the southern United States. It is headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia with executive offices also located in Birmingham, Alabama. The company is currently the 16th largest utility company in the world and the...

-subsidiary, Alabama Power. However, some of the surrounding area such as Bessemer
Bessemer, Alabama
Bessemer is a city outside of Birmingham in Jefferson County, Alabama, United States eight miles west of Hoover. The population was 29,672 at the 2000 Census, but by the 2009 U.S...

 and Cullman
Cullman, Alabama
Cullman is a city in Cullman County, State of Alabama. Cullman is located along Interstate 65, about north of Birmingham, and about south of Huntsville. According to the U.S...

 are provided by TVA
Tennessee Valley Authority
The Tennessee Valley Authority is a federally owned corporation in the United States created by congressional charter in May 1933 to provide navigation, flood control, electricity generation, fertilizer manufacturing, and economic development in the Tennessee Valley, a region particularly affected...

. Bessemer also operates its own water and sewer system. Natural gas is provided by Alagasco
Alagasco
Alabama Gas Corporation, Alagasco, headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama, is the largest natural gas utility in north and central Alabama that provides energy to 460,000 homes and businesses. Its history dates back more than 150 years. It has operating divisions in Anniston, Birmingham, Gadsden,...

, although some metro area cities operate their own natural gas services. The local telecommunications are provided by AT&T. Cable television service is provided by Bright House Networks
Bright House Networks
Bright House Networks is a cable television company, the seventh largest cable operator and the sixth largest traditional multiple system operator in the United States owned by Advance/Newhouse, headquartered in Syracuse, New York...

 within the cities of Birmingham and Irondale, and Charter Communications
Charter Communications
Charter Communications is an American company providing cable television, high-speed Internet, and telephone services to more than 4.7 million customers in 25 states. By revenues, it is the fourth-largest cable operator in the United States, behind Comcast, Time Warner Cable, and Cox Communications...

 in the rest of metro area.

Demographics


2000
Based on 2000 census, there were 242,820 people, 98,782 households, and 59,269 families residing in the city. The population density
Population density
Population density is a measurement of population per unit area or unit volume. It is frequently applied to living organisms, and particularly to humans...

 was 1,619.7 people per square mile (625.4/km2). There were 111,927 housing units at an average density of 746.6 per square mile (288.3/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 62.46% Black
African American
African Americans are citizens or residents of the United States who have at least partial ancestry from any of the native populations of Sub-Saharan Africa and are the direct descendants of enslaved Africans within the boundaries of the present United States...

, 35.07% White
White American
White Americans are people of the United States who are considered or consider themselves White. The United States Census Bureau defines White people as those "having origins in any of the original peoples of Europe, the Middle East, or North Africa...

, 0.17% Native American
Indigenous peoples of the Americas
The indigenous peoples of the Americas are the pre-Columbian inhabitants of North and South America, their descendants and other ethnic groups who are identified with those peoples. Indigenous peoples are known in Canada as Aboriginal peoples, and in the United States as Native Americans...

, 0.80% Asian
Asian American
Asian Americans are Americans of Asian descent. The U.S. Census Bureau definition of Asians as "Asian” refers to a person having origins in any of the original peoples of the Far East, Southeast Asia, or the Indian subcontinent, including, for example, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan,...

, 0.04% Pacific Islander
Pacific Islander
Pacific Islander , is a geographic term to describe the indigenous inhabitants of any of the three major sub-regions of Oceania: Polynesia, Melanesia and Micronesia.According to the Encyclopædia Britannica, these three regions, together with their islands consist of:Polynesia:...

, 0.62% from other races
Race (United States Census)
Race and ethnicity in the United States Census, as defined by the Federal Office of Management and Budget and the United States Census Bureau, are self-identification data items in which residents choose the race or races with which they most closely identify, and indicate whether or not they are...

, and 0.83% from two or more races
Multiracial American
Multiracial Americans, US residents who identify themselves as of "two or more races", were numbered at around 9 million, or 2.9% of the population, in the census of 2010. However there is considerable evidence that the real number is far higher. Prior to the mid-20th century many people hid their...

. 1.55% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. Also there is a Lebanese population in the city. It is one of the few Lebanese populations in the south.

There were 98,782 households out of which 27.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 31.1% were married couples living together, 24.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 40.0% were non-families. 34.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.37 and the average family size was 3.09.

In the city, the population is spread out, with 25.0% under the age of 18, 11.1% from 18 to 24, 30.0% from 25 to 44, 20.4% from 45 to 64, and 13.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females there were 85.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 80.4 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $26,735, and the median income for a family was $31,851. Males had a median income of $28,184 versus $23,641 for females. The city's per capita income
Per capita income
Per capita income or income per person is a measure of mean income within an economic aggregate, such as a country or city. It is calculated by taking a measure of all sources of income in the aggregate and dividing it by the total population...

 was $15,663. About 20.9% of families and 24.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 35.4% of those under age 18 and 18.5% of those age 65 or over.

2010
According to the 2010 U.S. Census:
  • 22.3% White
    White American
    White Americans are people of the United States who are considered or consider themselves White. The United States Census Bureau defines White people as those "having origins in any of the original peoples of Europe, the Middle East, or North Africa...

  • 73.4% Black
    African American
    African Americans are citizens or residents of the United States who have at least partial ancestry from any of the native populations of Sub-Saharan Africa and are the direct descendants of enslaved Africans within the boundaries of the present United States...

  • 0.2% Native American
    Native Americans in the United States
    Native Americans in the United States are the indigenous peoples in North America within the boundaries of the present-day continental United States, parts of Alaska, and the island state of Hawaii. They are composed of numerous, distinct tribes, states, and ethnic groups, many of which survive as...

  • 1.0% Asian
    Asian American
    Asian Americans are Americans of Asian descent. The U.S. Census Bureau definition of Asians as "Asian” refers to a person having origins in any of the original peoples of the Far East, Southeast Asia, or the Indian subcontinent, including, for example, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan,...

  • 0.0% Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander
    Pacific Islander American
    Pacific Islander Americans, also known as Oceanian Americans, are residents of the United States with original ancestry from Oceania. They represent the smallest racial group counted in the United States census of 2000. They numbered 874,000 people or 0.3 percent of the United States population...

  • 1.0% Two or more races
    Multiracial American
    Multiracial Americans, US residents who identify themselves as of "two or more races", were numbered at around 9 million, or 2.9% of the population, in the census of 2010. However there is considerable evidence that the real number is far higher. Prior to the mid-20th century many people hid their...

  • 2.1% Other races
    Race (United States Census)
    Race and ethnicity in the United States Census, as defined by the Federal Office of Management and Budget and the United States Census Bureau, are self-identification data items in which residents choose the race or races with which they most closely identify, and indicate whether or not they are...

  • 3.6% Hispanic or Latino
    Hispanic and Latino Americans
    Hispanic or Latino Americans are Americans with origins in the Hispanic countries of Latin America or in Spain, and in general all persons in the United States who self-identify as Hispanic or Latino.1990 Census of Population and Housing: A self-designated classification for people whose origins...

     (of any race)

Surrounding suburbs


Suburbs are listed in order of population.
  • Hoover
    Hoover, Alabama
    Hoover is a city in Jefferson and Shelby Counties in north central Alabama, in the United States. The largest suburb of Birmingham, the population of the city was 62,742 as of the 2000 census and 81,619 in the 2010 census. Hoover is part of the Birmingham-Hoover, AL MSA and is also included in the...

    : Pop. 81,619
  • Vestavia Hills
    Vestavia Hills, Alabama
    Vestavia Hills is a city in Jefferson and Shelby Counties in the U.S. state of Alabama. It is a suburb of the city of Birmingham.-History:Vestavia Hills is named for the estate of former Birmingham mayor George B. Ward. It was situated on the crest of Shades Mountain in what is now the northern...

    : Pop. 31,051
  • Alabaster
    Alabaster, Alabama
    Alabaster is a city and southern suburb of Birmingham in Shelby County, Alabama, United States. At the 2000 census the population was 22,619. According to the 2005 U.S. Census estimates, the city had a population of 27,517. At the 2010 census the population was 30,352. Alabaster is still a growing...

    : Pop. 28,694
  • Bessemer
    Bessemer, Alabama
    Bessemer is a city outside of Birmingham in Jefferson County, Alabama, United States eight miles west of Hoover. The population was 29,672 at the 2000 Census, but by the 2009 U.S...

    : Pop. 28,641
  • Homewood
    Homewood, Alabama
    Homewood is a city in southeastern Jefferson County, Alabama, United States. It is a suburb of Birmingham, located on the other side of Red Mountain due south of the city center. It has one of the highest population densities in Alabama. As of 2009 Census Bureau estimates, the population of the...

    : Pop. 23,963
  • Mountain Brook
    Mountain Brook, Alabama
    Mountain Brook is a city in southeastern Jefferson County, Alabama, and a suburb of Birmingham. According to 2005 Census Bureau estimates, the population of the city is 20,821. Mountain Brook is a particularly affluent city within the Birmingham metropolitan area and has appeared in several lists...

    : Pop. 20,821
  • Pelham
    Pelham, Alabama
    Pelham is a city and suburb of Birmingham in Shelby County, Alabama, United States. At the 2000 census the population was 14,369, but has grown to 21,352 recorded by the 2010 census. It was named for famed Confederate American Civil War officer John Pelham...

    : Pop. 20,120
  • Trussville
    Trussville, Alabama
    Trussville is a city in Jefferson and St. Clair counties in the U.S. state of Alabama. The population was 19,933 at the 2010 census. Trussville was ranked as number 56 out of 100 in Money Magazines Best Places to Live 2005.-Geography:...

    : Pop. 17,796
  • Cullman
    Cullman, Alabama
    Cullman is a city in Cullman County, State of Alabama. Cullman is located along Interstate 65, about north of Birmingham, and about south of Huntsville. According to the U.S...

    : Pop. 16,675
  • Hueytown
    Hueytown, Alabama
    Hueytown is a city in Jefferson County, Alabama, United States. At the 2010 census the population was 16,105.It was the home of the legendary NASCAR Alabama Gang...

    : Pop. 15,364
  • Center Point
    Center Point, Alabama
    Center Point is a newly incorporated city and a former census-designated place in northeastern Birmingham, Alabama, United States. At the 2000 census the population was 22,784. However, after its incorporation in 2002, the city's boundaries are much smaller than those of the CDP. As of July 1,...

    : Pop. 15,130
  • Jasper
    Jasper, Alabama
    Jasper is a city in Walker County, Alabama, United States. At the 2000 census the population was 14,659. As of 2011 the population had was 13,857. The city is the county seat of Walker County, and once ranked among the world's leading producers of coal....

    : Pop. 14,117
  • Gardendale
    Gardendale, Alabama
    Gardendale is a city in Jefferson County, Alabama, United States, and a northern suburb of Birmingham. The population was 11,626 at the 2000 census. 2009 Census estimates propose a population of 13,720.-History:...

    : Pop. 13,042
  • Fairfield
    Fairfield, Alabama
    Fairfield is a city in Jefferson County, Alabama, United States. It is part of the Birmingham–Hoover Metropolitan Area. The population was 12,381 at the 2000 census. As of 2006, the Census estimates the population to be 11,547.-History:...

    : Pop. 11,547
  • Forestdale
    Forestdale, Alabama
    Forestdale is an unincorporated area and census-designated place in Birmingham, Alabama, United States north of Ensley. At the 2000 census the population was 10,509.-Geography:Forestdale is located at .According to the U.S...

    : Pop. 10,509
  • Leeds
    Leeds, Alabama
    Leeds is a tri-county municipality located in Jefferson, St. Clair, and Shelby Counties in the U.S. state of Alabama. It is a suburb of Birmingham. As of the 2009 population estimate, the population of the city is about 11,474.-History:...

    : Pop. 10,455
  • Moody
    Moody, Alabama
    Moody is a city in St. Clair County, Alabama, United States. At the 2000 census the population was 8,053.-Geography:Moody is located at .According to the U.S...

    : Pop. 10,300
  • Helena
    Helena, Alabama
    Helena is a city in Jefferson and Shelby Counties in the U.S. state of Alabama. Helena is considered a suburb of Birmingham and part of the Greater Birmingham-Hoover Metropolitan area. It is also one of three cities, along with Alabaster and Pelham, that make up the area known as "North Shelby" or...

    : Pop. 10,296
  • Pleasant Grove
    Pleasant Grove, Alabama
    Pleasant Grove is a city in Jefferson County, Alabama and suburb of Birmingham. It is part of the Birmingham–Hoover Metropolitan Area. Its nickname is "The Good Neighbor City". At the 2010 census the population was 10,110.-History:...

    : Pop. 9,983
  • Irondale
    Irondale, Alabama
    Irondale is a city adjacent to Birmingham, Alabama, United States northeast from Homewood and Mountain Brook. At the 2010 census the population was 12,349. The book Fried Green Tomatoes, by Irondale native Fannie Flagg, is loosely based around the town and the landmark Irondale Cafe, known as The...

    : Pop. 9,813
  • Pell City
    Pell City, Alabama
    Pell City is a city in St. Clair County, Alabama, United States. The city is the county seat of St. Clair County along with Ashville. At the 2000 census the population was 9,565. At the 2010 census, the city-limit population jumped to 12,695. -Geography:...

    : Pop. 9,565
  • Clanton
    Clanton, Alabama
    Clanton is a city in Chilton County, Alabama, United States. It is part of the Birmingham–Hoover–Cullman Combined Statistical Area. At the 2000 census the population was 7,800. The city is the county seat of Chilton County.-History:...

    : Pop. 7,800
  • Tarrant
    Tarrant, Alabama
    Tarrant is a city in Jefferson County, Alabama, United States southeast of Fultondale. At the 2000 census the population was 7,022.-Geography:Tarrant is located at .According to the U.S...

    : Pop. 7,022
  • Fultondale
    Fultondale, Alabama
    Fultondale is a city in Jefferson County, Alabama, United States and a northern suburb of Birmingham. As of the 2000 census, the population of the city is 6,595 and, as of 2006, was estimated to be 6,905. Fultondale was a relatively stagnant community until the last decade...

    : Pop. 6,853
  • Warrior
    Warrior, Alabama
    Warrior is a city in Jefferson and Blount County in the U.S. state of Alabama. At the 2000 census the population was 3,169.-History:The city takes its name from the Warrior coal fields, which J. T. Pierce opened in 1872 in the vicinity. The coal fields were named, in turn, after the Black Warrior...

    : Pop. 3,169

  • Crime


    Birmingham has the tenth-highest crime rate in the country. Although homicide rates have remained above national averages for several years, the MSA (Metropolitan Statistical Area) crime statistics are much lower. According to statistics reported to the FBI, Birmingham has the seventh highest murder rate among U.S. cities and is ranked eighteenth in violent crime, but again this is for Birmingham proper only and does not include the various sub-cities which make up the 1.2 million Birmingham MSA. In fact, the Birmingham MSA crime rate is in line with several low-crime southern MSAs such as Jacksonville, FL, and Charlotte, NC. Recently the A&E
    A&E Network
    The A&E Network is a United States-based cable and satellite television network with headquarters in New York City and offices in Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit, London, Los Angeles and Stamford. A&E also airs in Canada and Latin America. Initially named the Arts & Entertainment Network, A&E launched...

     series, "The First 48
    The First 48
    The First 48 is an American documentary television series that airs on A&E. Filmed in various cities in the United States, the series offers an insider's look at the real-life world of homicide investigators...

    " has filmed episodes with some of the city's homicide detectives.

    The downtown district, relatively free from crime, is patrolled by City Action Partnership (CAP), formed in 1995 to increase the perception of safety. Funded by a downtown improvement association, the organization reports a 62% decline in criminal activity within its 109-block area.

    Culture


    Birmingham is the cultural and entertainment capital of Alabama with its numerous art galleries in the area and home to Birmingham Museum of Art, the largest art museum in the Southeast. Birmingham is also home to the state's major ballet, opera, and symphony orchestra companies such the Alabama Ballet, Alabama Symphony Orchestra
    Alabama Symphony Orchestra
    - 1921-1955: Beginnings :The Alabama Symphony Orchestra can trace its beginnings to 1921, when on Friday, April 29, fifty-two volunteer musicians joined to perform at the Birmingham Music Festival at the Old Jefferson Theater...

    , Birmingham Ballet, Birmingham Concert Chorale, and Opera Birmingham.

    • The historic Alabama Theatre hosts film screenings, concerts and performances.
    • The Alys Stephens Center
      Alys Stephens Center
      The Alys Robinson Stephens Performing Arts Center is a state-of-the-art performing arts facility located on the campus of the University of Alabama at Birmingham . It hosts over 250,000 people for more than 300 diverse events annually. The ASC is the center for entertainment and arts education in...

       for the Performing Arts is home to Alabama Symphony Orchestra and Opera Birmingham as well as several series of concerts and lectures. It is located on the University of Alabama at Birmingham campus.
    • The Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex (BJCC), houses a theater, concert hall, exhibition halls, and a sports and concert arena. The BJCC is home to the Birmingham Children's Theatre, one of the oldest and largest children's theatres in the country, and hosts major concert tours and sporting events. Adjacent to the BJCC is the Sheraton Birmingham
      Sheraton Birmingham
      The Sheraton Birmingham is Alabama's largest convention hotel, featuring 757 rooms and suites adjacent to the Birmingham Jefferson Convention Complex in downtown Birmingham, Alabama .The 17-story hotel was built in two phases...

      , the largest hotel in the state. A Westin Hotel is currently being constructed in the entertainment district of downtown Birmingham and is scheduled to open January 2013.
    • The historic Carver Theatre, home of the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame
      Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame
      The Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame was founded in 1978, and opened a museum on September 18, 1993, with a mission "to foster, encourage, educate, and cultivate a general appreciation of the medium of jazz music as a legitimate, original and distinctive art form indigenous to America...

      , offers concerts, plays, jazz classes (free to any resident of the state of Alabama) and many other events in the Historic 4th Avenue District, near the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute
      Birmingham Civil Rights Institute
      Birmingham Civil Rights Institute is a large interpretive museum and research center in Birmingham, Alabama that depicts the struggles of the American Civil Rights Movement in the 1950s and 1960s...

      .
    • The Birmingham Public Library
      Birmingham Public Library
      For the main library in Birmingham, England see, Birmingham Central Library.The Birmingham Public Library, a well-respected and one of the largest library systems in the southeastern United States, consists of 19 branches and a main or central library located in downtown Birmingham, Alabama...

       presents programs for children and adults.
    • Boutwell Auditorium (formerly Municipal Auditorium) is located at Linn Park.
    • The Verizon Wireless Music Center
      Verizon Wireless Music Center - Birmingham
      Verizon Wireless Music Center – Birmingham is an outdoor amphitheater, owned by Live Nation, located in Pelham, Alabama, a few miles south of Birmingham...

      , formerly Oak Mountain Amphitheater, is a large outdoor venue with two stages. It is located in Pelham.


    Other entertainment venues in the area include:
    • Fair Park Arena
      Fair Park Arena
      The Fair Park Arena is a 6,000-seat multi-purpose arena in Birmingham, Alabama, USA. It hosts local sporting events and concerts. It was built in 1980....

      , on the west side of town, hosts sporting events, local concerts and community programs.
    • Workplay located in Southside, is a multi-purpose facility with offices, audio and film production space, a lounge, and a theater and concert stage for visiting artists and film screenings.
    • Sidewalk Moving Picture Festival
      Sidewalk Moving Picture Festival
      The Sidewalk Moving Picture Festival is an annual film festival scheduled over one weekend in late September in Birmingham, Alabama, since 1999...

      , a celebration of new independent cinema in downtown Birmingham, was named one of TIME magazines "Film Festivals for the Rest of Us" in their June 5, 2006 issue.
    • The Wright Center Concert Hall at Samford University is home to the Birmingham Ballet


    Birmingham's nightlife is primarily clustered around Five Points South and Lakeview, but an additional $55-million entertainment district has been approved for an area adjacent to the BJCC.

    The Cultural Alliance of Greater Birmingham maintains Birmingham365.org, "a one-stop source for finding out what's going on where around" Birmingham.

    Museums



    Birmingham is home to several museums. The largest is the Birmingham Museum of Art
    Birmingham Museum of Art
    Founded in 1951, the Birmingham Museum of Art in Birmingham, Alabama today has one of the finest collections in the Southeast US, with more than 24,000 paintings, sculptures, prints, drawings, and decorative arts representing a numerous diverse cultures, including Asian, European, American,...

    , which is also the largest municipal art museum in the Southeast. The area's history museums includes Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, which houses a detailed and emotionally-charged narrative exhibit putting Birmingham's history into the context of the U. S. Civil Rights Movement. It is located on Kelly Ingram Park
    Kelly Ingram Park
    Kelly Ingram Park, formerly West Park, is a four acre park located in Birmingham, Alabama. It is bounded by 16th and 17th Streets and 5th and 6th Avenues North in the Birmingham Civil Rights District...

     adjacent to the 16th Street Baptist Church.

    Other history museums include the Southern Museum of Flight
    Southern Museum of Flight
    The Southern Museum of Flight is an aviation museum located three blocks east of the Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport in Birmingham, Alabama. It features a valuable collection of aviation artifacts spanning the 20th century in the various areas of aviation. It explores eight decades...

    , Bessemer Hall of History Sloss Furnaces
    Sloss Furnaces
    Sloss Furnaces is a National Historic Landmark in Birmingham, Alabama in the United States. It operated as a pig iron-producing blast furnace from 1882 to 1971. After closing it became one of the first industrial sites in the U.S. to be preserved for public use...

     National Historic Landmark, Alabama Museum of Health Sciences
    Alabama Museum of Health Sciences
    The Alabama Museum of the Health Sciences was opened and dedicated at the UAB campus in 1975. It was developed to display the health sciences in the areas of education, research, and practice in the U.S. with special emphasis on the state of Alabama and its contributors to the practice of medicine...

    , and the Arlington Home
    Arlington Antebellum Home & Gardens
    Arlington Antebellum Home & Gardens is a former plantation house and of landscaped gardens near downtown Birmingham, Alabama. The two-story frame structure was built between 1845-50 and features antebellum-era Greek Revival architecture. The house serves as a decorative arts museum, featuring a...

    .

    The Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame
    Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame
    The Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame was founded in 1978, and opened a museum on September 18, 1993, with a mission "to foster, encourage, educate, and cultivate a general appreciation of the medium of jazz music as a legitimate, original and distinctive art form indigenous to America...

     is housed in the historic Carver Theatre, and offers exhibits about the numerous notable jazz musicians from the state of Alabama.

    The McWane Science Center
    McWane Science Center
    The McWane Science Center is a science museum and research archive located in downtown Birmingham, Alabama . The state-of-the-art science center, aquarium and 280-seat IMAX Dome Theater is housed in the historic and refurbished Loveman's department store building...

     is a regional science museum with hands-on science exhibits, temporary exhibitions, and an IMAX
    IMAX
    IMAX is a motion picture film format and a set of proprietary cinema projection standards created by the Canadian company IMAX Corporation. IMAX has the capacity to record and display images of far greater size and resolution than conventional film systems...

     dome theater. The center also houses a major collection of fossil specimens for use by researchers. Other unique museums include the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame, the Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum, with the largest collection of motorcycles in the world, the Iron & Steel Museum of Alabama at Tannehill Ironworks Historical State Park
    Tannehill Ironworks
    The Tannehill Ironworks is a state historic site in Tuscaloosa County near the unincorporated town of Bucksville.Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, it was a major supplier of iron for Confederate ordnance...

     near McCalla
    McCalla, Alabama
    McCalla is an unincorporated community in Jefferson and Tuscaloosa Counties, Alabama, United States, southwest of Bessemer and the geographic terminus of the Appalachian Mountains.- Recreation :...

    , the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame
    Alabama Sports Hall of Fame
    The Alabama Sports Hall of Fame is a state museum located in Birmingham, Alabama, dedicated to communicating the state’s athletic history...

    , and the Talladega Superspeedway
    Talladega Superspeedway
    Talladega Superspeedway is a motorsports complex located north of Talladega, Alabama, United States. It is located on the former Anniston Air Force Base just outside the small city of Lincoln. It was constructed by International Speedway Corporation, a business controlled by the France Family, in...

     International Motorsports Hall of Fame museum.

    South of downtown on Red Mountain, Vulcan Park features the world's largest cast iron statue
    Vulcan statue
    The Vulcan statue is the largest cast iron statue in the world, and is the city symbol of Birmingham, Alabama, reflecting its roots in the iron and steel industry. The tall statue depicts the Roman god Vulcan, god of the fire and forge. It was created as Birmingham's entry for the Louisiana...

    , depicting Vulcan at his forge. It was cast for the 1904 St. Louis Exposition
    Louisiana Purchase Exposition
    The Louisiana Purchase Exposition, informally known as the Saint Louis World's Fair, was an international exposition held in St. Louis, Missouri, United States in 1904.- Background :...

    , and erected at Vulcan Park in 1938.

    Festivals


    Birmingham is home to numerous cultural festivals showcasing music, films, and regional heritage. Sidewalk Moving Picture Festival brings filmmakers from all over the world to Birmingham to have their films viewed and judged. This festival usually is scheduled on the last weekend in September at eight venues around downtown. Screenings are concentrated at the Alabama Theatre.

    Another musical festival is the Taste of 4th Avenue Jazz Festival
    Taste of 4th Avenue Jazz Festival
    The Taste of 4th Avenue Jazz Festival is a one day jazz festival which has been presented annually since 2003 in Birmingham's Historic 4th Avenue District downtown. In past years, it was sponsored by the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame and Urban Impact. Beginning in 2011, the festival was presented by...

    , presented at the end of September each year, concurrent with the Sidewalk Moving Picture Festival. This all day festival features national and local jazz acts. In 2007, the festival drew an estimated 6,000 people. The Birmingham Folk Festival is an annual event held since 2006. It moved to Avondale Park in 2008. In 2009 the festival featured nine local bands and three touring "headliner bands."
    The Southern Heritage Festival
    Southern Heritage Festival
    Southern Heritage Festival is a two-day music, arts, and culture festival dedicated to the African American population of Birmingham, Alabama. This festival takes place on the site of the future Railroad Reservation Park along Birmingham's "Railroad Reservation" corridor on the first weekend of...

     began in the 1960s as a music, arts, and entertainment festival for the African-American community to attract mostly younger demographics. Do Dah Day is an annual pet parade held around the end of May. The Schaeffer Eye Center Crawfish Boil, an annual music festival event held in May to benefit local charities, always includes an all-star cast of talent. It typically draws more than 30,000 spectators for the annual two-day event. The annual Greek Festival, a celebration of Greek heritage, culture, and especially cuisine, is a charity fundraiser hosted by the Greek Orthodox Holy Trinity - Holy Cross Cathedral. The Greek Festival draws 20,000 patrons annually. The Lebanese Food Festival is held at St. Elias Maronite Church. Magic City Brewfest is an annual festival benefiting local grassroots organization, Free the Hops, and focusing on craft beer. Alabama Bound is an annual book and author fair that celebrates Alabama authors and publishers. Hosted by the Birmingham Public Library, it is an occasion when fans may meet their favorite authors, buy their books, and hear them read from and talk about their work. Book signings follow each presentation.

    Other attractions


    Railroad Park
    Railroad Park
    Railroad Park is a 19-acre park in Birmingham, Alabama, that opened in the fall of 2010. It was designed by landscape architect Tom Leader and built by Birmingham-based Brasfield & Gorrie. The park lies immediately south of the Norfolk Southern and CSX rail lines through downtown Birmingham. It...

     opened in 2010 in downtown Birmingham's Railroad Reservation District. Kelly Ingram Park
    Kelly Ingram Park
    Kelly Ingram Park, formerly West Park, is a four acre park located in Birmingham, Alabama. It is bounded by 16th and 17th Streets and 5th and 6th Avenues North in the Birmingham Civil Rights District...

    , site of notable civil rights protests and adjacent to historic 16th Street Baptist Church
    16th Street Baptist Church
    Sixteenth Street Baptist Church is a Baptist church in Birmingham, Alabama which is frequented predominately by African Americans. In September 1963, it was the target of the racially motivated 16th Street Baptist Church bombing that killed four girls in the midst of the American Civil Rights...

    .
    Oak Mountain State Park is about 10 miles (16.1 km) South of Birmingham. It is one of the southernmost wrinkles in the Appalachian chain, and a scenic drive to the top provides views reminiscent of the Great Smoky Mountains
    Great Smoky Mountains
    The Great Smoky Mountains are a mountain range rising along the Tennessee–North Carolina border in the southeastern United States. They are a subrange of the Appalachian Mountains, and form part of the Blue Ridge Physiographic Province. The range is sometimes called the Smoky Mountains or the...

     further north. To the west of the city is located Tannehill Ironworks Historical State Park, a 1500 acres (6.1 km²) Civil War site which includes the well-preserved ruins of the Tannehill Iron Furnaces and the John Wesley Hall Grist Mill. The Birmingham Botanical Gardens
    Birmingham Botanical Gardens (USA)
    The Birmingham Botanical Gardens is a botanical garden located inside of Lane Park at the southern foot of Red Mountain in Birmingham, Alabama. It is home to some 3,000 different types of plants in 20 different gardens that include a Japanese garden...

     is a 67 acre (270,000 m²) park displaying a wide variety of plants in interpretive gardens, including formal rose gardens, tropical greenhouses, and a large Japanese Garden. The facility also includes a white-tablecloth restaurant, meeting rooms, and an extensive reference library. It is complemented by Hoover's 30 acres (121,405.8 m²) Aldridge Botanical Gardens, an ambitious project open since 2002. Still under development, Aldridge is currently more valuable to locals looking for a place to stroll than to tourists, but promises unique displays in coming years. The Birmingham Zoo
    Birmingham Zoo
    The Birmingham Zoo is a zoological park that opened in 1955 in Birmingham, Alabama . The zoo is home to almost 800 animals representing over 200 species, including many endangered species from six continents....

     is a large regional zoo with more than 700 animals and a recently opened interactive children's zoo. Alabama Adventure Theme Park (formerly Visionland) is an amusement park with two independent sections: Splash Beach Water Park and Magic Adventure Theme Park,. The theme park has 25 different thrill rides including The Rampage wooden roller coaster and Zoomerang, a steel roller coaster purchased in 2004 from the Brisbane
    Brisbane
    Brisbane is the capital and most populous city in the Australian state of Queensland and the third most populous city in Australia. Brisbane's metropolitan area has a population of over 2 million, and the South East Queensland urban conurbation, centred around Brisbane, encompasses a population of...

     expo. (The park was renamed at the start of the 2006 season, and major expansion plans were announced at that time.)
    The Summit is an upscale lifestyle center
    Lifestyle center (retail)
    A lifestyle center is a shopping center or mixed-used commercial development that combines the traditional retail functions of a shopping mall with leisure amenities oriented towards upscale consumers...

     with many stores and restaurants. It is located in Southeast Birmingham off of U.S. Highway 280, parallel to Interstate 459. Its anchor tenants are Belk
    Belk
    Belk is a department store chain founded in 1888 in Monroe, North Carolina, today part of the Charlotte metropolitan area. After the founding of the first Belk store, the company grew in size and influence throughout the South via the chain in the USA, with its stores primarily located in the...

     and Saks Fifth Avenue
    Saks Fifth Avenue
    Saks Fifth Avenue is a luxury American specialty store owned and operated by Saks Fifth Avenue Enterprises , a subsidiary of Saks Incorporated. It competes in the high-end specialty store market in the Upper East Side of Manhattan, i.e. 'the 3 B's' Bergdorf, Barneys, Bloomingdale's and Lord & Taylor...

    .
    Vulcan statue
    Vulcan statue
    The Vulcan statue is the largest cast iron statue in the world, and is the city symbol of Birmingham, Alabama, reflecting its roots in the iron and steel industry. The tall statue depicts the Roman god Vulcan, god of the fire and forge. It was created as Birmingham's entry for the Louisiana...

     is a cast iron replica of the Greek/Roman god of fire, iron, and blacksmiths that is the symbol of Birmingham. The statue stands high above the city looking down from a tower at the top of Red Mountain (Birmingham). Open to visitors, the tower offers views of the city below.

    Sports

    • Birmingham has no major professional sport franchises. The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB Blazers
      UAB Blazers
      The UAB Blazers are the forest green and old gold-swathed athletic teams at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. The school is one of the twelve member institutions of Conference USA and participates in Division I of the NCAA...

      ) has a popular basketball program and a young football program which is growing in popularity. The Birmingham area is home to the Birmingham Barons
      Birmingham Barons
      The Birmingham Barons are a minor league baseball team based in Birmingham, Alabama. The team, which plays in the Southern League, is the Double-A affiliate of the Chicago White Sox major-league club....

      , the AA minor league affiliate of the Chicago White Sox
      Chicago White Sox
      The Chicago White Sox are a Major League Baseball team located in Chicago, Illinois.The White Sox play in the American League's Central Division. Since , the White Sox have played in U.S. Cellular Field, which was originally called New Comiskey Park and nicknamed The Cell by local fans...

      , which plays at Regions Park, in Hoover. The Regions Park is also home to the Southeastern Conference
      Southeastern Conference
      The Southeastern Conference is an American college athletic conference that operates in the southeastern part of the United States. It is headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama...

       Baseball Tournament which drew more than 108,000 spectators in 2006. There is also an amateur soccer association, known as La Liga. The Birmingham area also plays host to the Alabama Alliance basketball team.
    • March 6–8, 2009 Birmingham hosted the U.S.A vs. Switzerland first round tie of the Davis Cup
      Davis Cup
      The Davis Cup is the premier international team event in men's tennis. It is run by the International Tennis Federation and is contested between teams of players from competing countries in a knock-out format. The competition began in 1900 as a challenge between Britain and the United States. By...

      . In which, U.S. won 4-1.
    • Birmingham was home to the Black Barons
      Birmingham Black Barons
      The Birmingham Black Barons played professional baseball for Birmingham, Alabama, in the Negro Leagues from 1920 to 1960 when the Major Leagues successfully integrated...

      , a very successful Negro League team. The Black Barons played home games at Rickwood Field
      Rickwood Field
      Rickwood FieldFacility StatisticsLocation1137 2nd Avenue WestBirmingham, AlabamaBroke GroundSpring 1910Cost$75,000OpenedAugust 18, 1910SurfaceGrassOwnerCity of BirminghamTenantsBirmingham Barons 1910-1961...

      , which is still standing in the Rising-West Princeton neighborhood, and is verified as being the oldest baseball field in America.
    • The city is notable for having multiple pro football franchises with all of the football franchises from Birmingham folding. This included a two-time champion WFL franchise, the Birmingham Americans
      Birmingham Americans
      The Birmingham Americans were a professional American football team located in Birmingham, Alabama. They were members of the four-team Central Division of the World Football League . The Americans, founded in late December 1973, played in the upstart league's inaugural season in 1974...

      /Birmingham Vulcans
      Birmingham Vulcans
      The Birmingham Vulcans were a professional American football team located in Birmingham, Alabama. They were members of the five-team Eastern Division of the World Football League . The Vulcans, founded in March 1975, played in the upstart league's second and final season in 1975...

      —before the league folded. A USFL franchise, the Birmingham Stallions
      Birmingham Stallions
      The Birmingham Stallions were a franchise in the United States Football League, an attempt to establish a second professional league of American football in the United States in competition with the National Football League. They played their home games at Birmingham, Alabama's Legion Field...

      –once again the league folded. A WLAF
      World League of American Football
      The World League of American Football was founded in 1990 with support from the National Football League to play professional American football in North America, Europe and later possibly Asia...

       franchise, the Birmingham Fire
      Birmingham Fire
      The Birmingham Fire was a professional American football team based in Birmingham, Alabama that played in the World League of American Football in 1991 and 1992. The team played at Legion Field, and it made the playoffs in both seasons....

      –the WLAF was renamed NFL Europa and the franchise became the Rhein Fire
      Rhein Fire
      The Rhein Fire was a professional American football team in NFL Europe, formerly the World League of American Football. Established in Germany in 1995, the franchise resurrected the name of the former Birmingham Fire team which was active during the 1991-1992 WLAF seasons.-History:The team was...

       before the league folded altogether in 2007. A CFL
      Canadian Football League
      The Canadian Football League or CFL is a professional sports league located in Canada. The CFL is the highest level of competition in Canadian football, a form of gridiron football closely related to American football....

       franchise, the Birmingham Barracudas
      Birmingham Barracudas
      The Birmingham Barracudas were a Canadian football team that played the 1995 season in the Canadian Football League. The Barracudas were part of a failed attempt to expand the CFL into the United States.-In the beginning:...

      — would play one season and then fold as the league ended its American franchise experiment. An XFL
      XFL
      The XFL was a professional American football league that played for one season in 2001. The league was founded by Vince McMahon, the Chairman of the Board of Directors of WWE...

       franchise, the Birmingham Thunderbolts
      Birmingham Thunderbolts
      The Birmingham Thunderbolts were a short-lived springtime American football team based in Birmingham, Alabama. This team was part of the failed XFL begun by Vince McMahon of World Wrestling Entertainment and by NBC, a major television network in the United States.-The only season:The Thunderbolts...

      –another instance where the league folded.
    • Birmingham's Legion Field
      Legion Field
      Legion Field is a large stadium in Birmingham, Alabama, United States, primarily designed to be used as a venue for American football, but is occasionally used for other large outdoor events. The stadium is named in honor of the American Legion, a U.S. organization of military veterans. At its peak...

       has hosted several college football postseason bowl games, including the Dixie Bowl
      Dixie Bowl
      The Dixie Bowl was a post-season college football bowl game held New Year's Day at Legion Field in Birmingham, Alabama. The game was only held twice, following the 1947 and 1948 seasons, after which it was discontinued. Birmingham and Legion Field have since played host to a number of other bowl...

       (1948–49), the Hall of Fame Classic (1977–85), the All-American Bowl
      All-American Bowl
      The All-American Bowl was an annual postseason college football bowl game played at Legion Field in Birmingham, Alabama from 1977 to 1990. The game was known as the Hall of Fame Classic from 1977 to 1985....

       (1986–90), the SEC Championship Game
      SEC Championship Game
      The SEC Championship Game refers to the game determining the Southeastern Conference's football season champion. The championship game pits the SEC Western Division representative against the Eastern Division representative in a game held after the regular season has been completed. Thus far, nine...

       (1992–93), the SWAC Championship Game
      SWAC Championship Game
      The SWAC Championship Game is an American college football game held on the first Saturday in December by the Southwestern Athletic Conference each year to determine its football champion. The game pits the champion of the Eastern Division against the champion of the Western Division in a game...

       (1999–present), and, most recently, the BBVA Compass Bowl (formerly the papajohns.com Bowl 2006–present).
    • The Southeastern Conference
      Southeastern Conference
      The Southeastern Conference is an American college athletic conference that operates in the southeastern part of the United States. It is headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama...

      , Southwestern Athletic Conference
      Southwestern Athletic Conference
      The Southwestern Athletic Conference is a college athletic conference headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama, which is made up of historically black universities in the Southern United States...

       and Gulf South Conference
      Gulf South Conference
      The Gulf South Conference is a College Athletic Conference which operates in the southeastern United States. It participates in the NCAA's Division II.-History:...

       are headquartered in Birmingham.
    • In 1996 Legion Field
      Legion Field
      Legion Field is a large stadium in Birmingham, Alabama, United States, primarily designed to be used as a venue for American football, but is occasionally used for other large outdoor events. The stadium is named in honor of the American Legion, a U.S. organization of military veterans. At its peak...

       hosted early rounds of Olympic
      Olympic Games
      The Olympic Games is a major international event featuring summer and winter sports, in which thousands of athletes participate in a variety of competitions. The Olympic Games have come to be regarded as the world’s foremost sports competition where more than 200 nations participate...

       soccer where it drew record crowds. The field has also hosted men's
      FIFA World Cup
      The FIFA World Cup, often simply the World Cup, is an international association football competition contested by the senior men's national teams of the members of Fédération Internationale de Football Association , the sport's global governing body...

       and women's World Cup
      FIFA Women's World Cup
      The FIFA Women's World Cup is an international association football competition contested by the senior women's national teams of the members of Fédération Internationale de Football Association , the sport's global governing body. The championship has been awarded every four years since the...

       qualifiers and friendlies. A recent switch from natural grass to an artificial surface has left the stadium's role as a soccer venue in doubt.
    • Motorsports are very popular in the Birmingham area and across the state, and the area is home to numerous annual motorsport races. the Aaron's 499
      Aaron's 499
      The Aaron's 499 is a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stock car auto race held at Talladega Superspeedway in Talladega, Alabama. The race has always been held in late April or early May. The Aaron's 499 is also one of four races currently run with restrictor plates, the others being the AMP Energy 500,...

       & AMP Energy 500 are NASCAR
      NASCAR
      The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing is a family-owned and -operated business venture that sanctions and governs multiple auto racing sports events. It was founded by Bill France Sr. in 1947–48. As of 2009, the CEO for the company is Brian France, grandson of the late Bill France Sr...

       Sprint Cup races that occur in April and October at the Talladega Superspeedway
      Talladega Superspeedway
      Talladega Superspeedway is a motorsports complex located north of Talladega, Alabama, United States. It is located on the former Anniston Air Force Base just outside the small city of Lincoln. It was constructed by International Speedway Corporation, a business controlled by the France Family, in...

      . The Indy Grand Prix of Alabama
      Indy Grand Prix of Alabama
      The Indy Grand Prix of Alabama is an IndyCar Series race held at Barber Motorsports Park, a 16-turn road course, in Leeds, Alabama, United States. Officially announced on July 27, 2009, the inaugural event was on the weekend of April 9–11, 2010. The event is under contract through the 2012 season...

       shares the Barber Motorsports Park
      Barber Motorsports Park
      The Barber Motorsports Park is a multi-purpose racing facility located on the eastern fringes of Birmingham, Alabama, USA near Leeds. The facility was the vision of George Barber, and includes the Barber Vintage Motorsport Museum. In July 2009 officials announced that Barber will be the site of...

       road course with Superbike
      Superbike racing
      Superbike racing is a category of motorcycle racing that employs modified production motorcycles. Superbike World Championship is the international superbike championship, and national superbike championships are held in many countries as well, including the United Kingdom, the United States,...

       and sports car GrandAm races.
    • The PGA
      PGA Tour
      The PGA Tour is the organizer of the main men's professional golf tours in the United States and North America...

       Champions Tour
      Champions Tour
      The Champions Tour, a golf tour run by the PGA Tour, hosts a series of events annually in the United States and the United Kingdom for golfers 50 years of age and older. Many of the PGA Tour's most successful golfers have gone on to play on the Champions Tour.The Senior PGA Championship, founded in...

       has had a regular stop in the Birmingham area since 1992, with the founding of the Bruno's Memorial Classic
      Regions Charity Classic
      The Regions Charity Classic, formerly known as the Bruno's Memorial Classic, was an American golf tournament on the Champions Tour. It was held at Ross Bridge Golf Resort and Spa, one of ten courses on the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail, located in Hoover, Alabama . The tournament was founded in...

      , later re-named the Regions Charity Classic. In 2011 the tournament will be replaced by The Tradition
      The Tradition
      The Tradition is one of the five major championships recognized by the U.S.-based Champions Tour, the world's leading tour for professional golfers aged fifty and older. The inaugural event was staged in 1989.Unlike the U.S...

      , one of the Champions Tour's five "major" tour events.
    • Recreational fishing is also immensely popular in the Birmingham area. Fish have been caught in 14 separate Alabama lakes which would be state records in 35 other states. Recently, Birmingham was named "Bass Capital of the World" by ESPN
      ESPN
      Entertainment and Sports Programming Network, commonly known as ESPN, is an American global cable television network focusing on sports-related programming including live and pre-taped event telecasts, sports talk shows, and other original programming....

       and Bassmaster magazine. Over the last several years, Birmingham has been home to numerous major fishing tournaments, including the Bass Masters Classic. Some of the more popular recreational lakes around Birmingham include: Smith Lake
      Lewis Smith Lake
      Lewis Smith Lake is a reservoir in north Alabama. Located on the Sipsey Fork of the Black Warrior River, the lake covers over in Cullman, Walker, and Winston counties. The three-fingered lake has over of shoreline, and at full pool has a level of . The lake was created by Alabama Power by use...

      , Lay Lake, Lake Neely Henry, Lake Logan Martin, Lake Purdy, and Bankhead Reservoir
      Bankhead Lake
      Bankhead Lake is a reservoir along the Black Warrior River that begins in Walker County in the state of Alabama. The lake forms the border between Jefferson and Tuscaloosa County, as well as the border dividing Jefferson and Walker County...

      .
    • The U.S. Paralympic Training Facility is located in Birmingham and was a primary filming location for the 2005 documentary film
      Documentary film
      Documentary films constitute a broad category of nonfictional motion pictures intended to document some aspect of reality, primarily for the purposes of instruction or maintaining a historical record...

       Murderball
      Murderball (documentary)
      Murderball is a 2005 American documentary film about tetraplegic athletes with partial arm function who play wheelchair rugby. It centers on the rivalry between the Canadian and U.S. teams leading up to the 2004 Paralympic Games. It was directed by Henry Alex Rubin and Dana Adam Shapiro, and...

      , about wheelchair rugby
      Wheelchair rugby
      Wheelchair rugby, , is a team sport for athletes with a disability. It is currently practiced in over twenty countries around the world and is a Paralympic sport....

       players.
    • Road running events such as the Vulcan 10K Run and Mercedes Marathon/Half Marathon are popular for both locals and out-of-state runners.
    • Cycling (both mountain biking and road) is popular in the area. Nearby Oak Mountain State Park annually hosts the Bump N' Grind mountain bike (1995–present) race and the Xterra Southeast Championship triathlon as well as other endurance competitions.

    Minor League teams

    Birmingham Barons
    Club Sport Founded League Venue
    Baseball
    Baseball
    Baseball is a bat-and-ball sport played between two teams of nine players each. The aim is to score runs by hitting a thrown ball with a bat and touching a series of four bases arranged at the corners of a ninety-foot diamond...

    1885 Southern League
    Southern League (baseball)
    The Southern League is a minor league baseball league which operates in the Southern United States. It is classified a Double-A league. The original league was formed in , and shut down in . A new league, the Southern Association, was formed in , consisting of twelve teams...

    : South Division
    Regions Park


    Other area sport facilities include:
    • BJCC Arena
    • Bartow Arena
      Bartow Arena
      Bartow Arena is an 8,508-seat multi-purpose arena in Birmingham, Alabama. It is home to the University of Alabama at Birmingham Blazers men's and women's basketball teams as well as the women's volleyball team. The arena is named after Gene Bartow, the coach who largely built the school's men's...

    • Legion Field
      Legion Field
      Legion Field is a large stadium in Birmingham, Alabama, United States, primarily designed to be used as a venue for American football, but is occasionally used for other large outdoor events. The stadium is named in honor of the American Legion, a U.S. organization of military veterans. At its peak...

    • Pelham Civic Center
      Pelham Civic Center
      Pelham Civic Complex is a 5,000-seat multi-purpose arena in Pelham, Alabama. It features two NHL size ice skating rinks with a holding capacity of 500 skaters, a skating school, ice skating birthday party rooms, and a multi-purpose banquet area. Its hockey capacity is 3,500; the arena has of...

    • Rickwood Field
      Rickwood Field
      Rickwood FieldFacility StatisticsLocation1137 2nd Avenue WestBirmingham, AlabamaBroke GroundSpring 1910Cost$75,000OpenedAugust 18, 1910SurfaceGrassOwnerCity of BirminghamTenantsBirmingham Barons 1910-1961...

    • Fair Park Arena
      Fair Park Arena
      The Fair Park Arena is a 6,000-seat multi-purpose arena in Birmingham, Alabama, USA. It hosts local sporting events and concerts. It was built in 1980....


    Media


    Birmingham is served by one daily newspaper, The Birmingham News (circulation 150,346), which in 2007 was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting, the newspaper's second Pulitzer. The Birmingham News Wednesday edition features six sub regional sections named East, Hoover, North, Shelby, South, and West that cover news stories from those areas. The Birmingham Post-Herald
    Birmingham Post-Herald
    The Birmingham Post-Herald was a daily newspaper in Birmingham, Alabama with roots dating back to 1850, before the founding of Birmingham. The final edition was published on September 23, 2005...

    , the city's second daily, published its last issue in 2006. Other local publications include The North Jefferson News
    The North Jefferson News
    The North Jefferson News is a newspaper based in Gardendale, Alabama. It is owned by Community Newspaper Holdings, and is published twice a week on Wednesdays and Saturdays.The North Jefferson News was founded in 1970 as a weekly newspaper...

    , The Leeds News, The Western Star (Bessemer) and The Western Tribune (Bessemer).

    Birmingham Weekly, Birmingham Free Press and Black & White (published biweekly) are Birmingham's free alternative publications. The Birmingham Times, a historic African-American newspaper, also is published weekly.

    Birmingham is served by the city magazine of the Chamber of Commerce, Birmingham magazine.

    Birmingham is part of the Birmingham/Anniston/Tuscaloosa television market, which is the nation's 40th largest. The major television affiliates, most of which have their transmitters and studios located on Red Mountain in Birmingham, are WBRC
    WBRC
    WBRC, virtual channel 6, is the Fox-affiliated television station serving the Birmingham, Alabama designated market area. The station is owned by Raycom Media, and its transmitter is located atop Red Mountain in Birmingham...

     6 (Fox
    Fox Broadcasting Company
    Fox Broadcasting Company, commonly referred to as Fox Network or simply Fox , is an American commercial broadcasting television network owned by Fox Entertainment Group, part of Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation. Launched on October 9, 1986, Fox was the highest-rated broadcast network in the...

    ), WBIQ 10
    Alabama Public Television
    Alabama Public Television is a state network of Public Broadcasting Service member non-commercial educational Public television stations serving the US state of Alabama. The television stations are licensed by the Alabama Educational Television Commission, which was created by the Alabama state...

     (PBS
    Public Broadcasting Service
    The Public Broadcasting Service is an American non-profit public broadcasting television network with 354 member TV stations in the United States which hold collective ownership. Its headquarters is in Arlington, Virginia....

    ), WVTM 13
    WVTM-TV
    WVTM-TV, channel 13, is the NBC-affiliated television station in the Birmingham-Anniston-Tuscaloosa-Gadsden, Alabama television market. The station is owned by Media General...

     (NBC
    NBC
    The National Broadcasting Company is an American commercial broadcasting television network and former radio network headquartered in the GE Building in New York City's Rockefeller Center with additional major offices near Los Angeles and in Chicago...

    ), WTTO 21
    WTTO
    WTTO is a CW affiliate for the Birmingham/Anniston/Tuscaloosa, Alabama market. It broadcasts its digital signal on UHF channel 28, however through the use of PSIP technology, digital television receivers display WTTO's virtual channel as 21. It is licensed to Homewood, a Birmingham suburb...

     (CW
    The CW Television Network
    The CW Television Network is a television network in the United States launched at the beginning of the 2006–2007 television season. It is a joint venture between CBS Corporation, the former owners of United Paramount Network , and Time Warner's Warner Bros., former majority owner of The WB...

    ), WBMA 33/40 (ABC
    American Broadcasting Company
    The American Broadcasting Company is an American commercial broadcasting television network. Created in 1943 from the former NBC Blue radio network, ABC is owned by The Walt Disney Company and is part of Disney-ABC Television Group. Its first broadcast on television was in 1948...

    ), WIAT 42
    WIAT
    WIAT, virtual channel 42, is the CBS-affiliated television station in the Birmingham/Tuscaloosa/Anniston/Gadsden, Alabama television market. Licensed to Birmingham, it broadcasts its digital signal on UHF channel 30, although through the use of PSIP, the station's virtual channel number is...

     (CBS
    CBS
    CBS Broadcasting Inc. is a major US commercial broadcasting television network, which started as a radio network. The name is derived from the initials of the network's former name, Columbia Broadcasting System. The network is sometimes referred to as the "Eye Network" in reference to the shape of...

    ), WPXH 44
    WPXH
    WPXH-TV, digital channel 45, is the Ion Television network affiliate for the Birmingham/Gadsden/Anniston/Tuscaloosa market. The station's city of license is Gadsden. The station is owned by ION Media Networks...

     (ION), and WABM 68
    WABM
    WABM, channel 68, is the My Network TV affiliate for the Birmingham/Anniston/Gadsden/Tuscaloosa, Alabama television market. WABM is owned by Sinclair Broadcasting Group, which also owns the market's CW affiliate, WTTO. WABM broadcast in ATSC digital format on channel 36...

     (MyNetworkTV
    MyNetworkTV
    MyNetworkTV is a television broadcast syndication service in the United States, owned by the Fox Entertainment Group, a division of News Corporation...

    ).

    Over 45 radio stations serve the Birmingham market, which is the nation's 56th largest radio market. Major broadcasting companies who own stations in the Birmingham market include Clear Channel
    Clear channel
    A clear-channel station is an AM band Radio station in North America that has the highest protection from interference from other stations, particularly concerning night-time skywave propagation. Usually known as class A stations since 1982, they are occasionally still referred to by their former...

    , Cox Radio
    Cox Radio
    Cox Radio, Inc. is a division of Cox Enterprises that holds a number of radio stations. Cox Radio is headquartered at 6205 Peachtree Dunwoody Road in Sandy Springs, Georgia....

    , Citadel Broadcasting
    Citadel Broadcasting
    Citadel Broadcasting Corporation was a Las Vegas, Nevada-based broadcast holding company. Citadel owned 243 radio stations across the United States and was the third-largest radio station owner in the country...

    , and Crawford Broadcasting. The Rick and Bubba
    Rick and Bubba
    Rick Burgess and Bill "Bubba" Bussey are cohosts of The Rick & Bubba Show—a syndicated comedic radio program based in Birmingham, Alabama...

     show, which is syndicated to over 25 stations primarily in the Southeast, originates from Birmingham's WZZK-FM
    WZZK-FM
    WZZK-FM is a country music formatted radio station licensed to Birmingham that serves northern and central Alabama. As of January 3, 2007, WZZK-FM is the flagship station of the Rick and Bubba radio network. It was the first FM station in Birmingham to switch to country music, and throughout much...

    . The Paul Finebaum
    Paul Finebaum
    Paul Finebaum is an American sports author, television and radio personality and former columnist based in Birmingham, Alabama. His primary focus is sports, particularly those in the Southeast. Finebaum was born in Memphis, Tennessee and attended the University of Tennessee, where he received a...

     sports-talk show, also syndicated and carried nationwide on Sirius digital radio, originates from WJOX.

    Birmingham is home to EWTN, the world's largest Catholic
    Catholic
    The word catholic comes from the Greek phrase , meaning "on the whole," "according to the whole" or "in general", and is a combination of the Greek words meaning "about" and meaning "whole"...

     media outlet and largest religious network of any kind broadcasting to approximately 118 million homes worldwide.
    See also List of television stations in Alabama
    See also List of radio stations in Alabama

    Sister cities


    Birmingham's Sister Cities program is overseen by the Birmingham Sister Cities Commission.
    Hitachi, Ibaraki
    Hitachi, Ibaraki
    is a city located on the Pacific Ocean in Ibaraki Prefecture, Japan. Its name could be directly translated as "sunrise", but probably more appropriately adapted to "prosperous wealth" .-Demographics:...

    , Japan since 1983 Gweru
    Gweru
    Gweru is a city near the centre of Zimbabwe at . It has a population of about 146,073 , making it the third largest city in the nation. Gweru is the capital of Midlands Province. Gweru was founded in 1894 by Dr. Leander Starr Jameson. The first bank opened in Gweru in 1896, and the stock exchange...

    , Zimbabwe Székesfehérvár
    Székesfehérvár
    Székesfehérvár is a city in central Hungary and is the 9th largest in the country. Located around southwest of Budapest. It is inhabited by 101,973 people , with 136,995 in the Székesfehérvár Subregion. The city is the centre of Fejér county and the regional centre of Central Transdanubia...

    , Hungary since 2001 Pomigliano d'Arco, Italy Vinnytsia
    Vinnytsia
    Vinnytsia is a city located on the banks of the Southern Bug, in central Ukraine. It is the administrative center of Vinnytsia Oblast.-Names:...

    , Ukraine since 2003 Anshan, Liaoning, China Plzeň, Czech Republic since 2005
    Al Karak
    Al Karak
    Karak is a city in Jordan that is known for the famous crusader castle Kerak. The castle is one of the three largest castles in the region, the other two being in Syria...

    , Jordan Winneba
    Winneba
    Winneba, traditionally known as Simpa, also known as the Land of the Gharteys because its royals and many of its inhabitants bear this name,...

    , Ghana since November 15, 2009 Guédiawaye
    Guédiawaye
    Guédiawaye is a town and département of the Dakar Region of Senegal. Lying on the Atlantic Ocean to the north east of Dakar city centre, in 2005 it had a population of 280,353. Until the mid-2000s, the département was part of Pikine.-History:...

    , Senegal since 2005 Rosh Haayin
    Rosh HaAyin
    Rosh HaAyin is a city in the Center District of Israel. To the west of Rosh HaAyin is the fortress of Antipatris and the source of the Yarkon River. To the southeast is the fortress of Migdal Afek...

    , Israel (Friendship City) since 2005 Maebashi, Japan (Friendship City) Chaoyang District, Beijing
    Chaoyang District, Beijing
    Chaoyang District is a district of Beijing, China.Chaoyang is home to the majority of Beijing's many foreign embassies, the well-known Sanlitun bar street, as well as Beijing's growing CBD. The Olympic Park, built for the 2008 Summer Olympics, is also in Chaoyang...

    , China (Friendship City) Cobán
    Cobán
    The city of Cobán is the capital of the department of Alta Verapaz in central Guatemala. It also serves as the administrative center for the surrounding Cobán municipality. It is located 219 km from Guatemala City....

    , Guatemala (Partners for the Americas)

    Cultural references


    The song "Sweet Home Alabama" by Lynyrd Skynyrd
    Lynyrd Skynyrd
    Lynyrd Skynyrd is an American rock band prominent in spreading Southern Rock during the 1970s.Originally formed as the "Noble Five" in Jacksonville, Florida, in 1964, the band rose to worldwide recognition on the basis of its driving live performances and signature tune, Freebird...

     contains the line "In Birmingham they love the governor".

    Randy Newman
    Randy Newman
    Randall Stuart "Randy" Newman is an American singer-songwriter, arranger, composer, and pianist who is known for his mordant pop songs and for film scores....

     wrote a song, titled "Birmingham", about a man living in this city. It was released as a track on his 1974 album Good Old Boys.

    Birmingham is mentioned in "Playboy Mommy" by American singer-songwriter Tori Amos
    Tori Amos
    Tori Amos is an American pianist, singer-songwriter and composer. She was at the forefront of a number of female singer-songwriters in the early 1990s and was noteworthy early in her career as one of the few alternative rock performers to use a piano as her primary instrument...

    .

    Further reading

    • Arrington, Richard. There’s Hope for the World: The Memoir of Birmingham, Alabama’s First African American Mayor, University of Alabama Press, 2008. ISBN 978-0-8173-1623-5
    • Fazio, Michael W. Landscape of Transformations: Architecture and Birmingham, Alabama. University of Tennessee Press, 2010; examines Birmingham's architecture and society in the city's rise as an industrial center.
    • Bennett, James R. "Historic Birmingham and Jefferson County", Historical Publishing Network, second ed, 2010. ISBN 978-1-935377-18-4.

    External links