Five Mile Creek

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Five Mile Creek (sometimes Fivemile Creek or 5-Mile Creek) drains a large portion of the Warrior Coal Fields in central Jefferson County, north of Birmingham. It arises from a spring near Chalkville (map) and, joined by several other tributary springs, proceeds along a winding course westward, emptying into the Locust Fork of the Black Warrior River near the Flat Top Mine (map).

The origin of the name is unknown, given that the creek traverses a total course of about 43 miles. One story has it that it was named for a crossing at Center Point that was five miles north of the Ruhama Academy.1.

Because it adjoined numerous mines and other industrial operations during the growth of industry in the Birmingham District, Five Mile Creek became highly polluted from mine tailings and coke processing, earning nicknames like "Chocolate Creek" or "Creosote Creek".

As commercial and residential development spread into Birmingham's northern suburbs, it often ignored the floodways and flood plains. Flooding from Five Mile Creek caused more and more damage, including a devastating flood in Tarrant in 2000 that destroyed a mobile home park. Tarrant's Fire Chief Billy Hewitt began campaigning to convert the former trailer park into a city park. In 2002 he met with the Wendy Jackson of the Freshwater Land Trust and founded the Five Mile Creek Greenways Partnership. The Chief William C. "Billy" Hewitt Park was created on top of the former trailer park in 2006.

In recent years a movement to clean up the creek and restore its scenic qualities and recreational opportunities has gained momentum, with Birmingham, Center Point, Tarrant, Fultondale, Brookside and Graysville all pledging to cooperate with the partnership toward the development of a series of parks and greenways along the course of Five Mile Creek.

Sites along Five Mile Creek

Starting upstream (from the east):

Streets running alongside Five Mile Creek

Major roads crossing Five Mile Creek

Starting upstream (from the east):


  1. United States Board on Geographic Names. (February 6, 2006) Quarterly Review List 391 - accessed August 3, 2007

External links