Brown Springs is a neighborhood in the East Lake community of Birmingham. It was historically an agricultural area with fields and orchards. The settlement was centered around a natural spring on the outskirts of the city. 73rd Street provided an access point to the mining roads on Ruffner Mountain, just south of the community.
The area around the spring formed a community center of sorts with a barbecue pit and picnic tables, and even a saloon with billiard tables which helped attract men from the mines. The presence of miners gave rise to lots of fighting and numerous killings in the rough days of Birmingham. The spring was enclosed by a circular wall which was scrubbed twice a year by neighbors.
In the 1950s the spring head, often contaminated by sewage from hogpens, was sealed and the neighborhood was connected to the Birmingham Water Works.
A recently announced 500-acre expansion of the Ruffner Mountain Nature Preserve holds the promise that a new entrance to the park may be sited in Brown Springs.
The Browns Springs neighborhood association, which meets every 3rd Thursday at 7:00 PM at the New Rising Star Missionary Baptist Church, is presided over by George Lee, Jr. Past presidents include Mary McCloud, and Ossie Ware Mitchell, one of the creators of the Birmingham Community Participation Program, who served as neighborhood president for 26 years. A new elementary school on 81st Street was dedicated in her name in 2005.
The Brown Springs Ecoscape was constructed around the site of the spring and dedicated in 2006. That project was largely responsible for Brown Springs' second-place finish in the 2006 Neighborhoods USA "Neighborhood of the Year" national award.
- Abrams, Vivi. (June 17, 2005) "Education panel gives OK to name school for Mitchell." Birmingham News
- Abrams, Vivi. (July 27, 2005) "Brown Springs returns to past as it develops 'ecoscape' park." Birmingham News
- Singleton, William C. III (April 12, 2006) "Neighborhood association up for national recognition." Birmingham News
- City of Birmingham (July 24, 2001) "Regular Meeting of the Council of the City of Birmingham" minutes.  - accessed April 24, 2006