1896 was the 25th year after the founding of the City of Birmingham.
- The Agricultural and Mechanical College of Alabama began the Old Rotation agricultural experiment.
- Brookside was incorporated.
- A. O. Lane began securing the purchase of 200-acres on the south slope of Red Mountain for use by the city of Birmingham.
- The Southern League of Professional Baseball Clubs folded for a second time.
- Thorsby in Chilton County was first settled by four Scandinavian immigrants.
- The Birmingham Age-Herald was sold to an upstart rival, The Daily State, and became the Daily State Herald.
- The Birmingham Ledger became The Daily Ledger.
- The company that would become Royal Cup Coffee was founded.
- Southern Banknote was founded as a division of Roberts & Sons.
- The Tennessee Coal, Iron and Railroad Company became one of the first 12 companies to be listed on the inaugural Dow Jones Industrial Average index.
- The Gate City Rolling Mill opened.
- October 14: The Alabama Girls' Industrial School opened to students with Henry Clay Reynolds as president.
- Leta Kitts became the first Supervisor of Music for Birmingham City Schools.
- A.D. Smith succeeded Arthur W. McGaha as president of Howard College.
- The State Normal and Industrial School of Huntsville was renamed the State Agricultural and Mechanical College for Negroes.
- September 1: Frank P. O'Brien succeeded George Morrow as Jefferson County Sheriff.
- December 1: Joseph F. Johnston succeeded William C. Oates as Governor of Alabama.
- Truman H. Aldrich succeeded Oscar Underwood as Representative of the 9th Congressional District of Alabama before being recalled.
- Russell Cunningham began serving in the Alabama State Senate.
- Frank Evans succeeded James Van Hoose as Mayor of Birmingham.
- John F. McLaughlin was elected tax assessor for Jefferson County.
- Edwin F. Vest succeeded Hudson W. Nelson as Shelby County Sheriff.
- May 30: James Coyle was ordained a priest.
- What became Ensley First United Methodist Church started as a mission of Martin Memorial Methodist Church with W. E. Morris as pastor.
- William A. Hobson became pastor of Ruhama Baptist Church.
- John Murray succeeded Thomas Beard as rector of Cathedral Church of the Advent.
- The Birmingham Bluebirds played a single season of baseball.
- Edward Barrett as elected as an Alabama delegate to the Democratic National Convention.
- Victor Hanson came to Alabama to work as advertising manager for the Montgomery Advertiser.
- William Mailly left Birmingham for Nashville, Tennessee.
- Richard McNally was admitted to the bar.
- Hugh Morrow became an assistant solicitor for Jefferson County.
- John Rountree moved to Birmingham and bought part interest in the Daily State Herald.
- William Starbuck was appointed secretary-treasurer of the Southern Bridge Company.
- January 5: Dick Griffin, U.S. Marshal
- May 20: Jaybird Coleman, harmonica player
- July 2: Frank Calloway, artist and mental patient
- July 20: James Meissner, aviator
- August 13: Asa Rountree, Jr, Director of the Alabama Department of Aeronautics
- November 23: Henry Higginbotham, miner
- December 10: Hank Crisp, University of Alabama coach and athletic director
- December 30: Homer Norton, college football coach
- Abraham Bengis, rabbi
- Afton Lee, Sr, businessman
- Durward Nickerson, messenger
- Willie Peterson, suspected murderer
- George Turner, architect
- Sidney van Sheck, artist and engineer
- Hill Ferguson from the University of Alabama.
- Charles Glenn from Harvard University with an A.B.
- Wallace Rayfield from Howard University.
- Charles Whelan, Jr from the University of Alabama.
- May 6: Attorney Daniel Greene to the former Margaret Jordan Morrow.
- June 10: Attorney John Hearst Miller to the former Eugenia Alexander.
- December 17: Pastor Sterling Foster to the former Anne Elizabeth Patterson.
- B. H. Cooper to the former Lula Jane Preston.
- May 15: Solomon Palmer, founder of the East Lake Atheneum
- December 22: Bessier Parker, second wife of A. H. Parker
- George R. Ward, innkeeper
In 1896, Utah was admitted as a state. The first modern Olympic Games were held. The Supreme Court case of Plessy v. Ferguson was decided, upholding segregation as "separate but equal." Charles Dow published the first edition of the Dow Jones Industrial Average. A tornado struck downtown St. Louis, Missouri, killing more than 255 and injuring over 1,000 people. An earthquake and tsunami in Sanriku, Japan killed 27,000. The Atlantic City rail crash killed 50 and seriously injured approximately 60. Republican William McKinley defeated William Jennings Bryan in the presidential election.
Notable books published in 1896 included The Damnation of Theron Ware by Harold Frederic, The Well at the World's End by William Morris, Tom Sawyer, Detective by Mark Twain, Facing the Flag by Jules Verne, The Island of Doctor Moreau by H. G. Wells, and poetry collection A Shropshire Lad by Alfred Edward Housman. Notable music released included "El Capitan March" by John Philip Sousa, "A Hot Time In The Old Town" by Joseph Hayden & Theodore A. Metz, Also sprach Zarathustra by Richard Strauss, and opera La Bohème by Giacomo Puccini.
Notable births in 1896 included comedian George Burns, baseball player Rogers Hornsby, film director Howard Hawks, physicist Robert S. Mulliken, actress Hope Summers, inventor Léon Theremin, writer F. Scott Fitzgerald, singer and actress Ethel Waters, baseball player Bucky Harris, baseball player Jimmy Dykes, and lyricist Ira Gershwin. Notable deaths included journalist Thomas W. Knox, photographer Mathew Brady, author Harriet Beecher Stowe, composer Anton Bruckner, inventor George Washington Gale Ferris Jr, and inventor Alfred Nobel.
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