Highland

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This article is about the former municipality. For other uses, see Highland (disambiguation).

Highland was a short-lived independent town on the slope of Red Mountain south of Birmingham. It was incorporated in 1887 and annexed into Birmingham in 1893.

Highland was proposed by a group of property owners who petitioned the legislature to incorporate on May 14, 1887. On May 24 they convened an election, which resulted in 29 votes for incorporation and 6 against. By June 18 the first mayor, W. C. Ward, had been placed in office.

The town took control of a portion of Highland Avenue, laid-out and provided with steam trolley service by the Elyton Land Company. It improved the street grading and installed curbs, upgrading the appearance of Five Points South. The town took out bonds in the amount of $900,000 for those works, as well as for a sanitary sewer system and construction of a Highland Town Hall. Nevertheless, its per capita indebtedness was a mere fraction of its larger sibling's.

In 1892 Mayor Jack Cohen reported that the town of Highland was progressing remarkably well, with 1/8th of the population of Birmingham and 1/7th its area. Those comparisons aside, the growth of Birmingham up to Highland's limits convinced many residents that a merger was inevitable. That summer a rally was held at which residents of Highland expressed their desire to participate in Birmingham's bright future. A special meeting of the Birmingham Board of Aldermen's judiciary committee on October 19 brought representatives from Highland, Avondale, Elyton, North Highland, Smithfield and Woodlawn, all interested in pursuing a merger.

On January 21, 1893 the Alabama Legislature heard a bill that would have annexed several areas around the city into Birmingham's corporate limits. Changes to the bill restricted the annexation to the Town of Highland alone before it passed on February 8. Highland was brought in as the city's Sixth and Seventh Wards, with the larger city assuming the smaller one's treasury, revenues, and debts.

[edit] References

  • Johns, Lyn (July 1979) "Early Highland and the Magic City: 1884-1893". Journal of the Birmingham Historical Society. Volume 6, No. 2, pp. 33-40
  • Burkhardt, Ann McQuorquodale and Alice Meriwether Bowsher (November 1982) "Town Within a City: The Five Points South Neighborhood 1880-1930." Journal of the Birmingham Historical Society. Vol. 7, Nos. 3-4
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