1890 was the 19th year after the founding of the City of Birmingham.
- February 4: "Running Deer", an Indian in Stowe's Wild West Show, broke away from the parade to chase two boys who threw rocks at him, and was charged with "reckless driving."
- May 15: The East Lake Hotel hosted the 3rd annual ball of the Jefferson Volunteers.
- October 7: Solomon Palmer's East Lake Atheneum opened.
- November: Lakeview Theatre opened in Lakeview Park.
- December 24: Water from the Cahaba River flowed through the Birmingham Water Works Tunnel into downtown Birmingham for the first time.
- The Adamsville and Cardiff Post Offices was established.
- A two-story brick school building was built in Avondale.
- Bolton's Crossroads was renamed Coal City.
- Knesseth Israel and Beth-El Cemetery and Wood Family Cemetery were started.
- Leeds Academy was founded.
- The William Nabors residence, the first home built in the Birmingham city limits, was demolished.
- Oakman was incorporated.
- Pell City was founded.
- Sharon was renamed Horse Creek.
- Wylam Masonic Lodge was founded.
- Classes for Birmingham High School relocated to the Enslen Building from the Wright Building, partly due to fumes from a steam laundry.
- The post office for the town of Cleveland in Blount County was established.
- Robert Galloway purchased the Carbon Hill settlement from the Kansas City Coal and Coke Company for $130,000.
- February 22: Thomas Furnace No. 2 was blown in.
- April: The Birmingham Chronicle ceased publication.
- May: Birmingham Brewing Company began producing beer.
- May 5: The Birmingham Railway & Electric Company was incorporated.
- August 5: Andrew Beard was granted Patent No. 433,847 for his rotary engine invention.
- August 23: Vanderbilt Furnace No. 1 was blown in.
- October 15: William Pettiford founded the Alabama Penny Savings Bank.
- October 18: The DeBardeleben Coal and Iron Company acquired the Oxmoor Furnaces from David Sinton.
- December 6: R. W. Mustin and M. M. Fogle purchased property on 2nd Avenue North and 16th Street for the Iron City Steam Bottling Works.
- William Berney resigned as president of the Bessemer Land and Improvement Company.
- Oliver Chalifoux came to Birmingham to manage the local Chalifoux Department Store.
- Loveman, Joseph, & Loeb moved to a new, large department store on 19th Street North.
- Robertstown No. 1 Furnace, Robertstown No. 2 Furnace, and Little Bell Furnace were blown in.
- Theodore Smith began purchasing land that became the Homewood Central Business District.
- Southern Life & Health Insurance was founded.
- The United Mine Workers of America went on strike against the Cahaba Coal Company.
- Attorney William Ward moved his office to the newly completed Steiner Building.
- Thomas G. Jones became Governor of Alabama.
- A. O. Lane was re-elected Mayor of Birmingham after not running in 1888.
- June 11: Land for South Highland Presbyterian Church was purchased by the congregation.
- September 20: The trustees of Trinity Methodist Church (Southside) purchased property at 30th Street and Avenue F.
- November: Sixth Avenue Baptist Church hosted the 23rd session of the Colored Baptist Convention of Alabama.
- Avondale Presbyterian Church was founded.
- G. W. Reed became pastor of East Lake United Methodist Church.
- Thomas Walker became pastor of First Baptist Church of Brighton.
- Wylam Baptist Church was founded.
- The Woman's Mission Societies was renamed as the Woman's Missionary Union.
- William Elias B. Davis was elected chairman of the American Medical Association's Section on Surgery.
- Martin Eagan joined the Birmingham Police Department.
- William Mailly moved to Alabama.
- William McQueen came to Birmingham as a train dispatcher.
- J. Thaddeus Mullin became chief of the Birmingham Fire Department.
- March 15: Dizzy Dismukes, baseball player and executive
- June 12: William Hoover, insurance executive and namesake of Hoover
- June 17: Kirkman O'Neal, industrialist
- July 28: Harry Pembleton, architect
- September 1: Ernie Walker, baseball player
- November 4: Kirk Newell, Auburn football coach
- January 1: Walter McAdory to Daisey Crook.
- September 18: Joseph Turner to Flora Hathaway.
- October 30: Lemuel Dawson to Margaret Lewis.
- November 12: Robert A. Morris to Lillian Walker.
- Archibald Carmichael to Annie Sugg.
- February 11: John Phelan, businessman
- February 28: Richard Hawes, murderer (executed)
- March 21: William Walker, Sr, pioneer farmer & merchant
- May 4: James Sloss, industrialist
- May 9: Murderer of John Manning (executed)
- October 9: Rube Burrow, train robber
- John Terry, attorney
- "Report on the Cahaba Coal Field" (Geological Survey of Alabama)
- Bethlehem Methodist Church
- Blach's building
- Cahaba Pump Station
- Hospital of United Charity
- Kessler Building
- Charles Kilgore residence, Tuscaloosa
- Loveman, Joseph and Loeb building
- Pettiford House
- Spring Street Fire House, Avondale
- Steiner Building
- Taylor Lofts
- The cornerstone for St Paul's Cathedral was laid.
- October 29: The cornerstone for the Main Building at Howard College in East Lake was laid.
In 1890, Tchaikovsky's The Sleeping Beauty ballet premiered in St. Petersburg. The United Mine Workers of America was founded. Nellie Bly completed her round-the-world journey in 72 days. Idaho and Wyoming were admitted to the U. S. The first use of the electric chair as a method of execution took place. The Daughters of the American Revolution was founded. Navy defeated Army in the first Army–Navy Game. The Wounded Knee Massacre took place.
Notable books published in 1890 included The Sign of Four by Arthur Conan Doyle, A Hazard of New Fortunes by William Dean Howells, News from Nowhere by William Morris, and the original version of The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde in Lippincott's Monthly magazine. Notable music released included "Star of the East" by George Cooper and Amanda Kennedy, String Quartet No. 2 in F minor by Carl Nielsen, the opera Cavalleria Rusticana by Pietro Mascagni, and the opera Prince Igor by Alexander Borodin.
Notable births in 1890 included bandleader Paul Whiteman, North Vietnamese President Ho Chi Minh, actor Stan Laurel, writer H. P. Lovecraft, restaurateur Harland "Colonel" Sanders, writer Agatha Christie, comedian Groucho Marx, President Dwight D. Eisenhower, and French President Charles de Gaulle. Notable deaths included human curiosity Joseph Merrick (a.k.a. the Elephant Man); military officer and explorer John C. Frémont; painter Vincent van Gogh; explorer, linguist, and soldier Richard Francis Burton; King William III of the Netherlands; and Sioux chief Sitting Bull.
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