North Birmingham

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This article is about the former municipality. For the community, see North Birmingham community, and for the smaller neighborhood, see North Birmingham neighborhood.

North Birmingham is a community and former independent municipality north of Village Creek from downtown Birmingham. It was founded as a speculative development in 1886, incorporated in 1902, and annexed into the City of Birmingham in 1910.

The North Birmingham Land Company was incorporated on October 1, 1886 by brothers John and Andrew Johnston along with John Boddie, John T. Milner and Edward Tutwiler. The Johnstons owned 900 acres of sparsely settled land that was considered ripe for development. The Mount Vernon Methodist Church had been established two years earlier and about twenty families lived nearby.

The developers incorporated the North Birmingham Railway Company on December 9 of the same year and soon began development of a resort-style park at its planned terminus to attract potential lot buyers. The resulting Mineral Springs Park was constructed in 1887.

The park was used by the Birmingham Gun Club for shoots, and may have been the first site of the Country Club of Birmingham before North Birmingham Park was completed closer to town in 1895. The Country Club was formally incorporated at the latter site on September 26, 1898 with seventy-seven charter members. A new clubhouse with a spacious ballroom hosted 250 people at its opening. Meanwhile the Birmingham Golf Club's 9-hole golf course, Birmingham's first, opened on a site adjoining the country club on April 1, 1899. The Golf Club property was sold in 1901 and members merged with the Country Club and helped plan for a new course and clubhouse at Lakeview Park, which opened on April 7, 1904.

Meanwhile, North Birmingham had incorporated as a municipality with about 2,000 residents in 1902. James Cole was sworn in as the first Mayor of North Birmingham and presided from a newly-constructed North Birmingham City Hall. A North Birmingham Fire Department was organized under Chief Eugene Smith, and the North Birmingham Police Department was headed by J. B. Cole.

The city issued bonds to construct the North Birmingham Water Works along with an electrical power plant on Village Creek. That facility was soon purchased by the City of Birmingham as the basis for its municipal water supply. Industrial development in North Birmingham thrived. The J. K. Dimmick pipe Company, which had bought the former golf course, grew to employ 800 workers. Other industries that located in North Birmingham included the Means-Fulton Iron Works, Southern Cement, Mitchell Planning Mill, Birmingham Hosiery Mills, and the Meighan Brick & Tile Company. The American Cast Iron Pipe Company (ACIPCO) built a massive plant adjacent to North Birmingham in 1905. A North Birmingham School was built to replace an existing wooden schoolhouse that same year.

At one point, North Birmingham officials considered the possibility of annexing their larger neighbor to the south. As it turned out, the "Greater Birmingham" legislation swallowed them up. Residents of the town, which had a population of 3,500, voted 127-122 against merging in a referendum, but the Alabama State Legislature took the countywide vote under consideration and, at the insistence of Governor B. B. Comer, included North Birmingham among the towns annexed into Birmingham.

The consolidated city took over operation of public services immediately. The city purchased North Birmingham Park with its pavilions, tennis courts and walks, in 1914. A public swimming pool was added in 1930. Birmingham constructed a large new North Birmingham Elementary School in 1925.

In 2018, author and historian JD Weeks published a book containing a detailed history of North Birmingham.