1949 was the 78th year after the founding of the city of Birmingham.
- October 3–?: 1949 Alabama State Fair
- The Alabama Theatre hosted its first Miss Alabama Pageant.
- The Audichron was installed in the Alabama Gas Corporation building to give phone callers the correct time.
- A report showed Bryce State Mental Hospital had the largest patient load in the nation by far.
- Governor Jim Folsom signed an "Anti-Masking Bill" aimed at reducing Ku Klux Klan activity.
- Hardrock Gunter was given a television show, spinning country records on WABT-TV.
- The John Looney House was sold by the descendents of John Lonnergan to Colonel Joseph Creitz.
- Birmingham mayor James W. Morgan began an initiative to help in the planning and development of a city zoo.
- A revived orchestra was assembled under the new Civic Symphony Association.
- The Pleasant Grove Post Office was established.
- The first Shelby County Fair was held.
- January 20: A new Hill's Food Store opened on Montgomery Highway in Homewood.
- March: Shoe Center was opened by Izz Eubanks.
- April: Refrigeration Service Co., Inc. moved from 1005 3rd Avenue North to 213 21st Street South.
- April 21: A new Hill's Food Store opened on 31st Avenue North in North Birmingham.
- December: A fire caused the temporary closure of the Bond Clothing Company.
- Barber's Dairy introduced the wax-coated paperboard milk carton.
- Mitchell and Ida Cotton passed ownership of Cotton's department store to their children, Bert and Merle.
- Katherine McTyeire founded Iron Art on Southside.
- Worcy Crawford started driving the Ensley All-Stars basketball team to games in his coal truck.
- Harbert Construction, founded three years earlier, was incorporated.
- Loveman's opened a new "store for the home" facing 2nd Avenue North, but connected to the main store.
- Noodie's Stop & Shop was purchased by Eph and Jessie Lee Vanderslice.
- Shook and Fletcher Supply Company formed a commercial insulation division.
- The Southern Natural Gas Company acquired the Watts Building for its headquarters.
- Arichtecture firm Van Keuren & Davis became Van Keuren, Davis and Company.
- George Ward's former Vestavia estate was opened to the public as a roadside attraction and tea room.
- Frank Yeilding, Jr became CEO of the Jefferson Federal Savings and Loan Association.
- March 24: The home of Bishop S. L. Green at 1st Street and 11th Avenue West was destroyed by dynamite.
- July 28: Three sticks of dynamite were thrown into the home of Milton Curry, Jr at 1100 Center Street North, but did not explode.
- August 12: Curry's residence was again targeted by dynamite, this time damaging windows.
- August 12: The home of E. B. DeYampert at 1104 Center Street North was also damaged by dynamite.
- September 12: Shades Valley High School opened with Dr. Frank Peake as principal and taking the place of Shades Cahaba High School, which became Shades Cahaba Elementary School.
- Atlanta-based charm school the Academy opened a branch at the Tutwiler Hotel.
- The Cumberland School of Law earned accreditation from the ABA.
- Carl Elliott began his first term (of eight) as U.S. Representative of the 7th Congressional District of Alabama.
- Cooper Green won his fourth term as Mayor of Birmingham.
- James Robertson succeeded Luther Davis, Sr. as Mayor of Tuscaloosa.
- James Sharbutt began his first term as Mayor of Vincent.
- Jack Story succeeded E. H. Alley as Mayor of Wilsonville.
- July 1: WAFM-TV went on the air as Birmingham's first television station.
- July 4: WBRC went on the air on VHF channel 4.
- October 1: WAFM-TV began airing regular programming from the ABC and CBS television networks.
- November: Otis Kirby succeeded J. M. Gibbs as pastor of Avondale United Methodist Church.
- Interim pastor Vernon G. Davidson succeeded pastor Porter H. Harrison at McElwain Baptist Church.
- A fire of unknown origin gutted the First Congregational Christian Church.
- Henry Edmonds became pastor of Pilgrim Congregational Church.
- The 1st Church of Christ Scientist moved from 11th Avenue South to Highland Avenue.
- Paul Hardin became pastor of the First Methodist Church of Birmingham.
- Jonathan Silverberg became rabbi of Knesseth Israel Congregation.
- The Young Men's Hebrew Association was renamed the Jewish Community Center of Birmingham as the first women joined the board of directors.
- January 1: Kentucky State defeated North Carolina A&T by a final score of 23-13 at the Vulcan Bowl.
- January 1: Baylor defeated Wake Forest 20-7 at the second (and last) Dixie Bowl.
- April 19: Walt Dropo made his Major League debut with the Red Sox before being sent back to the minor leagues.
- September 9: A partnership of Al DeMent, Al Belcher, and Rufus Lackey purchased the Birmingham Barons and Rickwood Field from Gus Jebeles.
- December 3: Auburn upset Alabama, winning the 1949 Iron Bowl 14-13, Auburn's second win of the season.
- Auburn Stadium was renamed Cliff Hare Stadium.
- Former Alabama Crimson Tide player Joe Domnanovich played for the New York Bulldogs.
- Earl Gartman succeeded Ted McCrary as head coach of the Howard Bulldogs football team.
- Mike "Pinky" Higgins succeeded Fred Walters as Birmingham Barons manager.
- Vaughn Mancha became head football coach for Livingston State University.
- Birmingham native Johnny Simmons played for the Washington Senators.
- Cholly Atkins began performing on the Broadway run of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.
- Joe David Brown became a foreign correspondent for TIME magazine.
- Reporter Joseph Campbell left The Birmingham News for the Dothan Eagle.
- Frank Dukes joined the U. S. Army.
- Jack Granata became an art professor at the University of Alabama.
- Birmingham mayor Cooper Green became president of the United States Conference of Mayors.
- Joseph Loveman ended his service with the city housing board.
- William Powell began his financial career as a coin counter at the Woodlawn branch of the First National Bank of Birmingham.
- Priest Joseph Raya emigrated to the United States.
- Birmingham native Hugh Stubbins opened his own architecture firm.
- Dennis Washburn joined the U. S. Army.
- January 2: Phyllis Wyne, Birmingham Board of Education member
- January 18: Steve Zaslofsky, educator
- February 7: Jim Porter, attorney and NRA president
- March 22: Stan Bailey, bank executive
- April 2: Hank Erwin, state senator
- April 18: Addie Mae Collins, bombing victim
- April 24: Carole Robertson, bombing victim
- April 30: Cynthia Wesley, bombing victim
- May 14: Jim Folsom, Jr, Governor of Alabama
- May 26: Delores Manyama, educator
- June 1: William Bell, Mayor of Birmingham
- June 9: Dian McCray, educator and children's book author
- June 14: Roy L. Wood, Jr, television news anchor
- June 20: Lionel Richie, pop singer
- June 28: Clarence Davis, professional football player
- July 2: Curtis Rowe, professional basketball player
- July 28: Vida Blue, professional baseball player
- August 10: Ron McGuffie, law enforcement agent and dispatcher
- August 11: Lynn Edwards Angell, librarian and terrorist victim
- August 22: Eli Capilouto, college administrator
- October 6: Lonnie Johnson, inventor
- December 6: Virgil Ware, murder victim
- December 13: Randy Owen, singer
- Barbara Allen, educator
- Gwendolyn Bell, school counselor
- Homer Brown, business owner and table tennis player
- Dyer Carlisle III, educator and assistant college football coach
- Bill Foisy, transportation director
- Jay Glass, coroner
- Keith Harrelson, commercial writer, photographer, and club owner
- Jim Neel, sculptor, photographer, and art instructor
- Bo Smith, meat market manager and murder victim
- Brenda Spahn, non-profit founder
- Burke Swearingen, Homewood Chief of Police
- Bill Terry, Jr, Vietnam War soldier killed in action
- Lou Zaden, business owner
- Evan Zeiger, Jr, neurosurgeon
- Paul Bailey from Vanderbilt University with Ph. D.
- Harry Brock, Jr from the University of Alabama with a bachelor of science in commerce and business administration.
- Alexander Lacy from the University of Virginia.
- Louis LeVaughn from the University of Alabama with bachelor of arts in school administration.
- Morris Mayer from the University of Alabama with a bachelor of science in business administration.
- Demetrius Newton from Wilberforce University in Wilberforce, Ohio.
- Abdulalim Shabazz from Lincoln University in Pennsylvania with a bachelor's degree in chemistry and mathematics.
- Charles Speir from Vanderbilt University with a bachelor of arts in economics.
- Henry Stanford from New York University with a doctorate in public administration.
- Gay Talese from Ocean City High School in New Jersey.
- Leonard Weil from the University of Alabama with a business degree.
- April 1: Bobby Bowden eloped with the former Ann Estock.
- March 12: Joseph Gomer to Elizabeth.
- October 29: Harry Brock, Jr to the former Jane Hollock.
- Charlie Fonville to the former Barbara Manley.
- Reporter Andrew Glaze to actress Dorothy Elliott.
- Henry Stanford to the former Ruth King.
- J. O. Tant, Jr to the former Hilda Johnson.
- Gil Wideman to Frances.
- Betty Jane Rase divorced Mickey Rooney
- February 10: John Henry Adams, mining engineer and executive
- May 11: B. H. Cooper, furniture dealer and civic leader
- November 27: Lloyd Noland, physician and public health advocate
- The Freeholder by Joe David Brown
- Alabama State Fair cattle barn
- Beechwood subdivision
- Birmingham News building (1917) addition
- Harmony Street Baptist Church education wing
- John Gleissner residence
- John's Restaurant remodeling
- Jefferson County Courthouse Bessemer Division expansion
- McElwain Baptist Church 4-room addition
- Ollie's Barbecue rebuilt
- Ramsay High School auditorium and athletic facilities
- Shades Valley High School (original campus)
- WBRC studio and tower
- Bernice Wright residence
- The Gospel Harmoneers made their first recordings, for RCA.
Mazer Lumber and Supply 1949 newspaper ad
Pizitz Building in 1949
Thomas Jefferson Hotel in 1949
Vulcan parking lot c. 1949
Harry Walker's 1949 Bowman baseball card
In 1949, Los Angeles, California received its first recorded snowfall. Harry S. Truman began his second term as President, which was his first elected to the position. The first Emmy Awards are presented at the Hollywood Athletic Club. Grady the Cow got stuck inside a silo on a farm in Yukon, Oklahoma and garnered national media attention. English astronomer Fred Hoyle coined the term "Big Bang" during a BBC Third Programme radio broadcast. The Tokyo Stock Exchange was founded. The North Atlantic Treaty was signed, creating the NATO defense alliance. Israel was admitted to the United Nations as its 59th member. The Soviet Union tested its first atomic bomb, code named "Joe 1". The People's Republic of China was officially proclaimed. A typhoon struck a fishing fleet off Korea, killing several thousand.
Notable fiction published in 1949 included The Man with the Golden Arm by Nelson Algren, Crooked House by Agatha Christie, Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell, Cat of Many Tails by Ellery Queen, A Town Like Alice by Nevil Shute, The Second Confession by Rex Stout. New drama that debuted included Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller. Notable non-fiction published included The Hero with a Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell and The Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir.
The top music hits of 1949 included "A Little Bird Told Me" by Evelyn Knight, "Cruising Down the River" by Russ Morgan, "(Ghost) Riders in the Sky: A Cowboy Legend" by Vaughn Monroe, "Some Enchanted Evening" by Perry Como, "That Lucky Old Sun" by Frankie Laine, and "Mule Train" by Frankie Laine.
Top grossing films in 1949 included Samson and Delilah, Battleground, Jolson Sings Again, Sands of Iwo Jima, and I Was a Male War Bride. All the King's Men won Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Actor (Broderick Crawford), and Best Supporting Actress (Mercedes McCambridge). Best Director went to Joseph L. Mankiewicz for A Letter to Three Wives and Best Actress to Olivia de Havilland for The Heiress.
Television shows that debuted in 1949 included The Goldbergs, Stop the Music, Hopalong Cassidy, This Is Show Business, Martin Kane, Private Eye, The Voice of Firestone, Bozo the Clown, and The Lone Ranger.
Notable births in 1949 included chef Wolfgang Puck, boxer George Foreman, actress Linda Lovelace, comedian Andy Kaufman, singer Robert Palmer, singer Steve Perry, actor John Belushi, actor Brent Spiner, game designer Danielle Bunten Berry, businesswoman Ivana Trump, wrestler Ric Flair, musician Eddie Money, actor Erik Estrada, musician John Oates, actress Jessica Lange, musician Billy Joel, singer Hank Williams Jr, actor Jim Varney, musician Lionel Richie, actres Meryl Streep, composer Alan Menken, musician Mark Knopfler, actress Shelley Long, musician Rick Springfield, musician Gene Simmons, actor Richard Gere, political commentator Bill O'Reilly, musician Bruce Springsteen, actress Sigourney Weaver, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, musician Bonnie Raitt, actor Jeff Bridges, musician Tom Waits, actor Don Johnson, musician Maurice & Robin Gibb, and actress Sissy Spacek.
Notable deaths included football player Bradbury Robinson, actor Seymour Hicks, actor Wallace Beery, former Secretary of Defense James Forrestal, cartoonist and entrepreneur Robert Ripley, author Margaret Mitchell, composer Richard Strauss, Supreme Court Justice Wiley Blount Rutledge, dancer Bill "Bojangles" Robinson, and musician Lead Belly.
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