1872 was the first year after the founding of the city of Birmingham.
- March 19: The newly-formed Agricultural and Mechanical College of Alabama was established on the former campus of the East Alabama Male College in Auburn.
- June 3: A post office was established for the community around McElwain Furnace (Irondale).
- July 4: A fire which started at B. F. Cheek's drug store destroyed 13 buildings in early Birmingham.
- July 8 Mayor of Birmingham Robert Henley, suffering from tuberculosis, traveled to Florida to seek a cure. He appointed Alderman William McDonald to act as mayor in his absence.
- October 14: Birmingham's first theatrical productions, "East Lynne" and "Everybody's Wife" were staged at Sublett Hall.
- November 8: The Mineral City Lodge No. 74 of the International Order of Odd Fellows was organized.
- November 26: David P. Lewis succeeded Robert B. Lindsay as Governor of Alabama.
- Some Alabama Insane Hospital patients began writing and editing their own newspaper, The Meteor.
- The Birmingham Fire Department was founded under chief Ferdinand Neville.
- The Birmingham Water Works was created.
- John Cullmann made a deal with the Louisville and Nashville Railroad that would lead to the establishment of the town of Cullman.
- The East Alabama Male College was donated to the state of Alabama by the Methodist Church.
- The Helena (35080), Morris (35116), and Warrior Post Offices (35180) were established.
- Thomas Tate was later appointed to serve the remainder of Robert Henley's term as Mayor.
- Alexander McKinstry succeeded Edward Moren as Lieutenant Governor of Alabama.
- October 17: The National Bank of Birmingham was organized.
- A new Central Iron Works Company was organized.
- A. C. Oxford opened his photography studio.
- James Pierce opened the Warrior coal fields.
- Rufus Cobb was elected to the Alabama State Senate.
- Francis A. Nelson succeeded Thomas Harrison as Shelby County Sheriff.
- January: The First United Methodist Church met for the first time.
- June 9: Jonathan Hillyer chaired a meeting with the aim of founding a new Baptist church in the city.
- June 21: The First Baptist Church of Birmingham congregation was organized and Jonathan Hillyer was elected pastor.
- Cathedral Church of the Advent was established as a parish church.
- January: T. L. Hudgins moved to Tuscaloosa.
- Michael and Catherine Cahalan moved their family to Birmingham.
- John DuBose was appointed as a delegate to the Alabama Democratic Convention.
- Benjamin Franklin Riley was ordained as a Baptist minister.
- January 5: Charles A. Brown, Birmingham City Schools principal and associate superintendent
- April 15: Mary Pratt DeBardeleben Percy
- May 15: John Hornady, newspaper editor and Birmingham City Commission member
- July 8: John H. Bankhead, II, U.S. Senator
- November 20: Ulysses Mason, physician and banker
- December 17: John Coe, lumber dealer
- Leon Friedman, journalist
- Entrepreneur Benjamin Roden married Ella Lee Didlake of Perry County.
- Colonel James Sloss married Martha "Mattie" Lundie in Oxford.
In 1872, Yellowstone National Park was established as the world's first national park. The magazine Popular Science began publication. U.S. President Ulysses S. Grant signed the Amnesty Act of 1872 into law, restoring full civil rights to all but about 500 Confederate sympathizers. The first Shriners Temple was established in New York City. Ulysses S. Grant defeated Horace Greeley in the presidential election. The Mary Celeste was found mysteriously unmanned, but still seaworthy.
Notable books published in 1872 included Under the Greenwood Tree by Thomas Hardy and In a Glass Darkly by Sheridan Le Fanu.
Notable births in 1872 included baseball player Willie Keeler, painter Piet Mondrian, philosopher & mathematician Bertrand Russell, cartoonist & illustrator Heath Robinson, aviation pioneer Louis Blériot, President Calvin Coolidge, explorer Roald Amundsen, Chief Justice Harlan F. Stone, painter Louis Dewis, and actress Maude Adams. Notable deaths included financier Big Jim Fisk, explorer William Wentworth, inventor Samuel Morse, King Charles XV of Sweden and Norway, General George Meade, and newspaper founder Horace Greeley.
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