Category Archives: Birmingham Historical Society

Did You Know These Men from the Virden Coal Mine Massacre?

In 1898, the town of Virden, Illinois advertised for 175 black coal miners to leave Birmingham on September 22nd, in order to work the mines in Illinois. However, the intent was that they be involved in the labor union strike which became a deadly battle known as the Massacre of Virden on October 12th, 1898. This October will be the 125th anniversary of the Battle of Virden in which they were involved, and the Union Miners Cemetery and Mother Jones Museum is seeking any information on these men to enrich the education of those attending their anniversary celebration. Did you know them?

Today, (125 years) after the bloody Battle of Virden, there is an even more pressing need to explain how this intense battle came about, who the union fighters were, what they achieved, and failed to achieved, and why the lessons of Virden are still relevant to working people today.

Mother Jones was a fearless fighter for workers’ rights and wanted to be known as the ‘mother of all agitators’. She is buried in the Union Miners Cemetery and is the namesake for the museum where the anniversary event will be held.

“In 1897, the United Mine Workers launched a strike for a living wage in the coal fields. Jones was a strategic part of the union since that time. For her, it was more than about union contract. She argued that ordinary miners should direct their economic destiny and that the public  should own the coal and natural resources, not corporations. She believed in organizing at the community level to demonstrate workers capacity for managing their destiny. She believed that the so-called unskilled worker, immigrants and African-Americans should be the base of the new movement. She put women and children at the center of struggles in the coal fields, making a family-based movement.

One of the Jones’ key contributions was building workers’ commitment to unionism that bridged racial and ethnic divisions.”

Excerpted from Mother Jones Museum

Historic Building Research & Markers

A series of Birmingham lectures as part of the National Historic Preservation Month includes one on “How to Conduct Historic Building Research and How to Obtain a Historical Marker” THIS TUESDAY AT NOON.

Presented by the City of Birmingham’s Department of Planning, Engineering, and Permits, hear directly from the city authorities what you need to know to comply to historic requirements.

The lecture will be in the Birmingham Public Library – Arrington Auditorium, 2100 Park Place. Learn how to use sources in the public library and the county courthouse to research historic homes and buildings…and how to get a historical marker to recognize them. Should be an interesting lecture! Please plan to attend.

Historic Preservation Education Lecture Series

  • Tuesday, May 9: “The National Register of Historic Places.” Boutwell Auditorium.
  • Tuesday, May 16: “How to Conduct Historic Building Research & How to Obtain a Historical Marker.” Birmingham Public Library, Arrington Auditorium (Enter through main library, 3rd floor skywalk)
  • Tuesday, May 23: “Historic Preservation Tax Incentives.” Boutwell Auditorium.
  • Tuesday, May 30: “Birmingham’s New Adaptive Reuse Incentive for Historic Buildings.” Birmingham Public Library, Arrington Auditorium (Enter through main library, 3rd floor skywalk)

Click here for a printable schedule of events for Historic Preservation Month.

For more information, contact Hannah Garmon, Historic Preservation Manager, at 205-254-2424or You can also reach Karla Calvert, Urban Design Administrator, at 205-254-2479or

Town Hall Meetings for Hoover Parks’ Planning are THIS WEEK

Want some input into the future of Hoover’s Greenways and Blueways? Do you love Lover’s Leap and Tip Top Grill? The town hall meetings are THIS WEEK! See schedule below and read the article in the Hoover Sun:

Monday, May 8: Shades Crest Baptist Church

Tuesday, May 9: Spain Park High School Library

Thursday, May 11: Finley Center at Hoover Metropolitan Complex

Tuesday, May 16: Virtual town hall meeting at

Each meeting will be from 5 to 7 p.m. The in-person meetings will be set up as a walk-through interactive exhibit, with displays giving information about the various parts of the plan and opportunities to provide feedback on the displays.

Representatives from the city will be on site as well to answer questions, talk about the plan and have conversations with people about what they would like to see regarding the focus topics, said Mindy Wyatt, a strategic analyst for the city who is serving as the project manager for the plan.

Friends of Shades Mountain (FOSM), working with the Hoover Historical Society, are promoting the creation of a Bluff Park Preserve on Shades Mountain.

Hoover wants your input on Green Spaces

Hoover is seeking the public’s input on a long-term plan for parks, public spaces, greenways, trails, and blue ways. Lots of plans are being explored including the one prepared by the Birmingham Historical Society’s Marjorie White and Birgit Kibelka along the historic Ross Bridge property (see below). Officials are considering 32 public places, and 20 miles of frontage on the Cahaba River.

Make your voice be heard! Improve your community by participating in this online survey and attending the May meetings.

Click HERE for Online Survey and Meeting Schedule

Click HERE for pdf printable map with links of proposed sites along historic Brock’s Gap and Ross Creek Culvert

Historic Preservation Month!

May is Birmingham’s Historic Preservation month, and the City of Birmingham will be hosting a series of events to showcase the economic and social benefits of historic preservation with walking tours and lectures. Please plan to attend! Select the image below to download a pdf file of events. Or download brochures below for more information on policies and federal incentives regarding Historic Districts.