1873 was the second year after the founding of the city of Birmingham.
- January 1-5: Birmingham had no official government, as the term of acting mayor Thomas Tate had ended on December 31, 1872
- January 6: James Powell won the 1872 city election and was sworn in as Mayor of Birmingham.
- March 7: The Alabama State Legislature passed a local prohibition law forbidding alcohol sales within a two mile radius of "any coaling grounds in Bibb, Jefferson and Tuscaloosa Counties, except incorporated towns."
- Spring: The Alabama Press Association met in Birmingham at the invitation of James Powell.
- May 5: Voters in Jefferson County passed a referendum moving the county seat from Elyton to Birmingham.
- May 13: Birmingham's first municipal water was pumped from the North Birmingham Water Works to the Relay House.
- June 12: The first victim of Birmingham's 1873 cholera epidemic, a visitor from Huntsville, fell ill.
- June 21: The Elyton Land Company donated a lot at the corner of 24th Street and 6th Avenue North to the city "for the purpose of a free school for white children now residing in, and may reside hereafter in said city or within one-half mile of the limits of said city."
- July 4: The cholera epidemic spread to the general population following an Independence Day celebration at Blount Springs.
- December: The State Board of Education accepted the transfer of title to the Lincoln Normal School.
- December 29: Oak Hill Cemetery was formally sold to Birmingham.
- December 31: The first Calico Ball was held to celebrate New Year's.
- The Birmingham Board of Education was established.
- The Colored Normal School at Huntsville was established by the Alabama state legislature for the education of black teachers.
- The town of Cullman was established.
- Elyton's population grew to over 1,000.
- The Hueytown (35023), McCalla (35111), and Pelham Post Offices (35124) were established.
- The first known use of "The Magic City" was penned by James Powell in the Elyton Land Company annual report.
- January 2: The National Bank of Birmingham opened to the public.
- March 28: Pioneer Fire Company No. 1 was incorporated by the Alabama State Legislature.
- April 14: The New Orleans and Northeastern Railroad Company assumed short-lived ownership of the Alabama & Chattanooga Railroad.
- Fall: Oxmoor Furnace No. 2 was blown in.
- A new Central Iron Works Company began operations.
- Henry F. DeBardeleben inherited the Red Mountain Iron and Coal Company upon the death of his ward, Daniel Pratt.
- William H. Parker opened a grist mill in what would become Gardendale.
- April 20: The First Colored Baptist Church was organized.
- November 10: St John African Methodist Episcopal Church was organized.
- Union Hill Methodist Episcopal Church moved to Shades Valley, on what is now Hollywood Boulevard at U.S. Highway 280.
- Obediah Berry became Mayor of Tuscaloosa.
- Mortimer Jordan Jr moved his primary private practice to Birmingham.
- Theophilus Jowers began working at the Oxford Furnace.
- A. O. Lane moved to Birmingham.
- Charles Linn was elected to the Birmingham Board of Aldermen.
- John Terry moved to Birmingham.
- January 4: Isaac Ullman, magazine publisher
- March 10 (uncertain): Wallace Rayfield, architect
- March 23: James Coyle, Catholic priest
- April 1: Bibb Graves, 40th Governor of Alabama
- May 19: Hugh Morrow, attorney and state senator
- May 19: Henry Steagall, state and US representative
- May 20: Crawford Johnson, founder of Birmingham Coca-Cola Bottling Co.
- July 9: Charles Whelan Jr, physician
- October 11: Arlie Barber, pharmacist, seed company founder, and Birmingham City Commissioner
- November 23: John C. Forney, attorney and Birmingham Alderman
- November 24: Logwood Goin, physician
- December 7: James Hanes, Methodist minister
- John O'Neill, retailer and Birmingham Alderman
- Charles Drennen graduated from the Alabama Medical College.
- Emmet O'Neal completed his degree at the University of Alabama School of Law.
- James Powers completed his master of arts from the University of Alabama.
- April 5: Andrew Moore, former Governor of Alabama
- April 22: Robert Henley, first Mayor of Birmingham
- Rueben Popwell
- See also, 1873 cholera epidemic.
- Cathedral Church of the Advent (first building, completed March 5)
- National Bank of Birmingham building
- North Birmingham Water Works
- John T. Terry residence
In 1873, Congress enacted the Comstock Law, making it illegal to send any "obscene, lewd, or lascivious" books through the mail. President Ulysses S. Grant began his second term. Levi Strauss and Jacob Davis received a patent for using copper rivets to strengthen the pockets of denim work pants. The Canadian Parliament established the North-West Mounted Police (later renamed the Royal Canadian Mounted Police). The New York stock market crash triggered the Panic of 1873, part of the Long Depression.
Notable books published in 1873 included Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne and The Gilded Age: A Tale of Today by Mark Twain and Charles Warner.
Notable births in 1873 included film mogul Adolph Zukor, writer Colette, baseball player & manager John McGraw, pharmacologist Otto Loewi, surgeon Alexis Carrel, inventor Lee De Forest, etiquette expert Emily Post, businessman Charles Rudolph Walgreen, athlete Ray Ewry, blues composer W. C. Handy, writer Ford Madox Ford, and politician Al Smith. Notable deaths included Emperor of the French Napoleon III, murderer Mary Ann Cotton (executed), painter Wilhelm Marstrand, General Edward Canby, chemist Justus von Liebig, explorer David Livingstone, Chief Justice Salmon P. Chase, and philosopher John Stuart Mill.
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