Historic Markers Across Alabama

A New City / Building early Birmingham

Marker ID:  
Location: 1701 Valley View Drive, Birmingham, AL
County: Jefferson
Coordinates: N 33° 29.52    W 086° 47.728
  33.492    -86.79546666
Style: Interpretative Sign **
Waymark: None


The arrival of two railroad lines in Jones Valley opened nearby deposits of iron ore, limestone, and coal to commercial development and helped make Birmingham one of the great industrial cities of the post Civil War South.

In 1871, the year of Birmingham's founding, civil engineer William P. Barker with North and South Alabama Railroad laid out Birmingham's system of streets and avenues to align with the main rail lines that still run through the city. Development began to fill in Birmingham's grid, first with simple wood-frame structures common to the American frontier, then with brick buildings, and, in little more than three decades, with the city's first skyscrapers.

A view of Birmingham looking north from Red Mountain, 1885.

This bird's eye view of Birmingham from Red Mountain, created around 1885 to promote the young city, provides a glimpse of an area that was, just two decades prior, mostly farm land. Compare this early view of Birmingham with the city you see before you today. We have indicated modern-day landmarks to orient you.

1. Interstate 20/59
2. Financial District
3. UAB Medical Center
4. Birmingham-Shuttleworth Airport
5. Elton B. Stephens Expressway
6. Sloss Furnaces National Historic Landmark

Erected by c. Byron Ireland Foundation, Mr. and Mrs. Glen Ireland II, and Mr. and Mrs. William R. Ireland Sr.

End of A New City / Building early Birmingham