- February 10: The Alabama State Legislature passed a local prohibition law forbidding the sale of liquor within 1 1/2 miles of Avondale Springs (but not applicable to incorporated areas of Birmingham).
- February 11: St Mary's-on-the-Highlands Episcopal Church was founded.
- March 9: The Hospital of United Charity was incorporated.
- April 27: Leeds was incorporated.
- May 1: Ferdinand Neville was appointed the first full-time chief of the Birmingham Fire Department.
- May 14: The Birmingham Chamber of Commerce was founded at a meeting at O'Brien's Opera House.
- July 20: The Hotel Belvidere at East Lake Park held an "Opening Hop".
- August 6: The Magic City Guards were formally disbanded.
- September 9: Bessemer was incorporated.
- September 20: John Henry competed in a legendary contest against a steam hammer.
- September 20: George H. Johnson shot John Yancey near the intersection of 20th Street and Avenue I in a dispute over an eviction, and also shot Birmingham Police Captain J. B. Donaldson in the ensuing confusion.
- November 25: Water from Roebuck Springs began filling the basin for East Lake, then called "Lake Como".
- Avondale was founded.
- The Birmingham Water Works completed a canal from Five Mile Creek to the North Birmingham Water Works pumping station, replacing Village Creek as a source of municipal water.
- Hall-Kent Elementary School was founded.
- The town of Highland was incorporated.
- Leeds was incorporated.
- Howard College moved to East Lake.
- The first Carbon Hill Post Office was established with John T. Anderson as postmaster.
- January 26: Woodward Furnace No. 2 was blown in.
- March: The Gate City Land Company was organized by Robert Warnock and N. W. Smith, Jr.
- May 1: J. C. Marks & Company, a wholesale wine, liquor and cigar dealer, was organized.
- June 14: The East Lake Railroad began service.
- August 3: William Pinckard published the first edition of The Daily Herald.
- September: Parisian Dry Goods & Millinery Company was founded by sisters Bertha Sommers and Estalle Sommers Reinach.
- December 16: The New York Model Bakery opened on 22nd Street South.
- G. L. Anderson founded the G. L. Anderson Brass Works.
- The Berney Bank of Bessemer was organized by William and Chollet Berney.
- The Birmingham Chamber of Commerce was founded.
- The Birmingham Southern Railroad was extended to Ensley.
- The Birmingham Trust and Savings Company was founded.
- Walter Brownell founded the Brownell Travel Bureau by organizing a 10-person trip to Switzerland.
- Charles Ferguson founded the short-lived Blount Springs Herald Weekly.
- The Coalburg Coal and Coke Company was sold to the Sloss Iron and Steel Company.
- Loveman's department store opened its first location in downtown Birmingham.
- The Perry-Mason Shoe Co. was founded.
- The Denechaud House hotel and restaurant opened at 2107 2nd Avenue North
- The city's first stenographer, Zennie Tomlinson, arrived to work for the Louisville & Nashville Railroad.
- The Birmingham Barons began playing professional baseball.
- August 17: A. H. Parker arrived in Birmingham.
- Joseph Johnston was named president of the Sloss Iron & Steel Company.
- Erskine Ramsay was hired by the Tennessee Coal, Iron and Railroad Company to superintend the Pratt Mines.
- February 21: B. O. Hargrove, Birmingham Fire Chief
- April 18: Brooke Burnham, architect
- June 1: Ewart "Dixie" Walker, baseball pitcher
- June 6: Hubert Harper, political cartoonist
- July 22: Beach Chenoweth, businessman
- August 4: Kelly Ingram, World War I hero
- September 22: Herbert Salmon, mining engineer
- November 19: Jack Nabors, baseball player
- December 8: Eddie Dent, baseball pitcher
- Charles Gardner, Jefferson County Deputy
- Mignon Hall Blair, newspaper reporter
- "Sunny Jim" Snell, circus clown
- March 7: Miriam Woodward to Sumter Bethea
- October 7: Mary R. Smith to George Cruikshank
- December: Ernest Loosley to the former Isabel Thompson
- Edward M. Tutwiler to the former Margaret Lee Chewning
- September 10: Theophilus Jowers, furnace worker
- William Brodie, labor leader
- William Ezekiel Arnold, Methodist minister
- Atlas of the City of Birmingham and Suburbs by Beers, Ellis and Company
- Jefferson County and Birmingham, Alabama: Historical and Biographical by John Witherspoon Dubose
- Avondale United Methodist Church
- Berney Brothers Block
- Bessemer Block
- Caldwell-Milner building on 1st Avenue North
- John Dwyer residence
- East Lake United Methodist Church
- Ensley Hotel
- L & N Station on Morris Avenue
- A. O. Lane residence on 8th Avenue North and 19th Street
- McLester & Van Hoose expanded their warehouse on Morris Avenue
- Hotel Royal
In 1887, the first Groundhog Day celebration was held in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. Anne Sullivan was hired to teach Helen Keller. Gottleib Daimler completed his first automobile. Queen Victoria celebrated her golden jubilee after 50 years on the throne. Flooding of the Yellow River in China killed 900,000.
Notable books published in 1887 included A Study in Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle, Allan Quatermain and She by H. Rider Haggard, A Crystal Age by W. H. Hudson, Noli Me Tangere by José Rizal, The Autobiography of Charles Darwin by Charles Darwin, and On the Genealogy of Morality by Friedrich Nietzsche. Notable music released in 1887 included Double Concerto in A minor by Johannes Brahms, Third Sonata for Violin and Piano in C minor by Edvard Grieg, the comic opera Ruddigore by Gilbert and Sullivan, and the opera Otello by Giuseppe Verdi.
Notable births in 1887 included comedian Chico Marx, actor Fatty Arbuckle, painter Marc Chagall, baseball player Shoeless Joe Jackson, physicist Erwin Schrödinger, publisher Marcus Garvey, architect Le Corbusier, Chinese political and military leader Chiang Kai-shek, painter Georgia O'Keefe, and actor Boris Karloff. Notable deaths included reformer Henry Ward Beecher, social activist Dorothea Dix, gunfighter Doc Holliday, and poet Emma Lazarus.
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