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Birmingham City Guide

Birmingham was founded in 1871, when the Elyton Land Company sold lots at the junction of two railroad lines. The area was known for its rich deposits of iron ore, limestone, and coal (all of which are used to make steel), so it was only logical that Birmingham would become a major center of industry. In fact, the name of Birmingham came from the English city that played a major role in the Industrial Revolution.

Despite the optimism of the founders, the history of Birmingham got off to a shaky start. An outbreak of cholera, coupled with a Wall Street scare, nearly conspired to bring the fledgling city to a premature end in 1873. But even while people were fleeing the city in droves, Charles Linn (a banker and former Civil War blockade runner) refused to give up. He built an extravagant three-story brick bank which has since come to be called "Linn's Folly." He then hosted a grand opening "Calico Ball," where guests were invited to attend in ball gowns and formal wear cut from calico. This defiance in the face of adversity emboldened the remaining population of the city and, many say, jump-started Birmingham's growth.

Austin Mahone
Birmingham, Boutwell Auditorium
Sep 2, 7:00pm
Birmingham Postcards