- April 27: Leeds was incorporated.
- May 1: Ferdinand Neville was appointed the first full-time chief of the Birmingham Fire Department.
- August 6: The Magic City Guards were formally disbanded.
- September 20: John Henry competed in a legendary contest against a steam hammer.
- Avondale was founded.
- The Birmingham Water Works completed a canal from Five Mile Creek to the North Birmingham Water Works pumping station, replacing Village Creek as a source of municipal water.
- Hall-Kent Elementary School was founded.
- The town of Highland was incorporated.
- Leeds was incorporated.
- Howard College moved to East Lake.
- January 26: Woodward Furnace No. 2 was blown in.
- June 14: The East Lake Railroad began service.
- August 3: William Pinckard published the first edition of The Daily Herald.
- G. L. Anderson founded the G. L. Anderson Brass Works.
- The Berney Bank of Bessemer was organized by William and Chollet Berney.
- The Birmingham Chamber of Commerce was founded.
- The Birmingham Southern Railroad was extended to Ensley.
- The Birmingham Trust and Savings Company was founded.
- Walter Brownell founded the Brownell Travel Bureau by organizing a 10-person trip to Switzerland.
- Charles Ferguson founded the short-lived Blount Springs Herald Weekly.
- The Coalburg Coal and Coke Company was sold to the Sloss Iron and Steel Company.
- Loveman's department store opened its first location in downtown Birmingham.
- Parisian Dry Goods & Millinery Company was founded.
- The Denechaud House hotel and restaurant opened at 2107 2nd Avenue North
- The Birmingham Barons began playing professional baseball.
- August 17: A. H. Parker arrived in Birmingham.
- Joseph Johnston was named president of the Sloss Iron & Steel Company.
- Erskine Ramsay was hired by the Tennessee Coal, Iron and Railroad Company to superintend the Pratt Mines.
- February 21: B. O. Hargrove, Birmingham Fire Chief
- June 1: Ewart "Dixie" Walker, baseball pitcher
- June 6: Hubert Harper, political cartoonist
- August 4: Kelly Ingram, World War I hero
- November 19: Jack Nabors, baseball player
- December 8: Eddie Dent, baseball pitcher
- Charles Gardner, Jefferson County Deputy
- March 7: Miriam Woodward to Sumter Bethea.
- October 7: Mary R. Smith to George Cruikshank.
- Edward M. Tutwiler to the former Margaret Lee Chewning.
- September 10: Theophilus Jowers, furnace worker
- William Brodie, labor leader
- William Ezekiel Arnold, Methodist minister
- Atlas of the City of Birmingham and Suburbs by Beers, Ellis and Company
- Jefferson County and Birmingham, Alabama: Historical and Biographical by John Witherspoon Dubose
- Avondale United Methodist Church
- Berney Brothers Block
- Bessemer Block
- John Dwyer residence
- East Lake United Methodist Church
- Ensley Hotel
- L & N Station on Morris Avenue
- McLester & Van Hoose expanded their warehouse on Morris Avenue
In 1887, the first Groundhog Day celebration was held in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. Anne Sullivan was hired to teach Helen Keller. Gottleib Daimler completed his first automobile. Queen Victoria celebrated her golden jubilee after 50 years on the throne. Flooding of the Yellow River in China killed 900,000.
Notable books published in 1887 included A Study in Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle, Allan Quatermain and She by H. Rider Haggard, A Crystal Age by W. H. Hudson, Noli Me Tangere by José Rizal, The Autobiography of Charles Darwin by Charles Darwin, and On the Genealogy of Morality by Friedrich Nietzsche. Notable music released in 1887 included Double Concerto in A minor by Johannes Brahms, Third Sonata for Violin and Piano in C minor by Edvard Grieg, the comic opera Ruddigore by Gilbert and Sullivan, and the opera Otello by Giuseppe Verdi.
Notable births in 1887 included comedian Chico Marx, actor Fatty Arbuckle, painter Marc Chagall, baseball player Shoeless Joe Jackson, physicist Erwin Schrödinger, publisher Marcus Garvey, architect Le Corbusier, Chinese political and military leader Chiang Kai-shek, painter Georgia O'Keefe, and actor Boris Karloff. Notable deaths included reformer Henry Ward Beecher, social activist Dorothea Dix, gunfighter Doc Holliday, and poet Emma Lazarus.
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