1879 was the eighth year after the founding of the City of Birmingham.
- January 15: The Alabama State Bar Association was founded with Governor Thomas Watts presiding.
- February 5: The City of Anniston was incorporated.
- May 28: The city of Hanceville was incorporated.
- The first telephone call from Birmingham was made by F. H. Britton to a South and North Railroad shop in Decatur.
- Moody's first school was built.
- The Howard College chapter of Sigma Nu was chartered.
- February: The first coal from the Pratt Coal and Coke Company was delivered to the Linn Iron Works by the Birmingham & Pratt Mines Railroad, fueling a boom in the as-yet-unrealized prospects of Birmingham as an industrial giant.
- June 4: The Birmingham Gas Company was chartered.
- The Birmingham Rolling Mills was created.
- James Sloss resigned from the Pratt Coal and Coke Company.
- Joseph Riley Smith built a horse racing track at "Smith's Park".
- Richmond and Danville Construction was organized by John T. Milner.
- The medical practice and pharmacy of Nabers & Morrow was founded.
- August 30: Peyton King sold 442 acres of King's Spring to James Sloss for $2,210.
- G. H. Pond succeeded L. M. Teal as Birmingham Police Chief.
- William Samford succeeded Jeremiah Williams as representative of the 3rd Congressional District of Alabama.
- Burwell Lewis succeeded Goldsmith Hewitt II as representative of the 6th Congressional District of Alabama.
- William Lowe succeeded William Garth as representative of the 7th Congressional District of Alabama.
- Campbell Wallace was appointed to the Georgia Railroad Commission.
- December 19: Patrick O'Reilly was ordained by the Roman Catholic Church.
- Rufus Cobb served as Grand Master of the Grand Masonic Lodge of Alabama.
- Giuseppe Moretti became apprenticed to a Dalmatian sculptor in Zagreb, Croatia.
- Thomas Duke Parke earned his medical certificate in New York.
- Julia Tutwiler became co-principal of the Livingston Female Academy.
- Samuel Ullman lost his re-election bid to the Natchez Board of Health following a yellow fever outbreak.
- May 31: Bill Foxen, Birmingham Barons pitcher
- August 18: William Denham, architect
- October 30: J. D. Webb, Birmingham city engineer
- Lewis Barrett, briefly publisher of the Birmingham Age-Herald
- Fred Buettiker, foundryman
- Temple Tutwiler
- June 8: Richard Hawes eloped with the former Emma Pettis at the home of a minister in Atlanta, Georgia
- July 19: Annie Henrietta Perryman to John Boddie
- Leonora Richardson to Chambers McAdory
- William Jemison to the former Eliska Leftwich in her home town of Ocean Springs, Mississippi
- Eugene Enslen to the former Delia W. Evans, of LaGrange, Georgia
- James Powers to the former Loula Reynolds of Giles County, Tennessee
- September: John D. Phelan, former Alabama Supreme Court justice
- November 22: Enoch Alldredge, Blount County state senator
- November 23: Alburto Martin, attorney and legislator
- Edward McMeans, preacher
In 1879, the Anglo-Zulu War was fought. Frank Woolworth opened his first Woolworth's store. Saccharin was discovered. Thomas Edison demonstrated his first practical electric light bulb.
Notable books published in 1879 included Beau Nash by William Harrison Ainsworth and The Begum's Fortune by Jules Verne. Notable music composed in 1879 included "O Dem Golden Slippers" by James A. Bland and musical The Pirates of Penzance by Gilbert & Sullivan.
Notable births in 1879 included writer E. M. Forster, physicist Albert Einstein, politician Nancy Astor, actress Ethel Barrymore, poet Wallace Stevens, humorist Will Rogers, Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky, playwright Charles Goddard, and artist Paul Klee. Notable deaths in 1879 included caricaturist and painter Honoré Daumier, Confederate general John Bell Hood, general Joseph Hooker, and architect Eugène Viollet-le-Duc.
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