1978 was the 107th year after the founding of the City of Birmingham.
- The Red Mountain School closed.
- Ruffner Mountain Nature Center began its educational programs on 24 acres of land acquired by the City of Birmingham.
- The BJCTA's "DART" service began in downtown Birmingham.
- Sheila Rubin founded the Natyananda dance troupe.
- Tom Bradford Park in Huffman was dedicated.
- May 23: The Locust Fork Volunteer Fire Department was organized with Rob Rutherford as chief.
- August 11: The Commodores played at Legion Field.
- August 15: Cheap Trick headlined a show at Al's Crossroads.
- October 1: Covenant Presbyterian Church was founded by Bill Hay.
- November 8: Van Halen opened for Black Sabbath at Boutwell Auditorium.
- December 3: Bob Dylan played at the BJCC Coliseum.
- December 15: The Grateful Dead played Boutwell Auditorium.
- January 15: Kopper Kettle's Auburn location was destroyed by a natural gas explosion.
- February: Red Mountain Museum opened.
- June 16: Cobb Theatres opened the Cinema City 8 multiplex at Roebuck Shopping City.
- August 18: John's Restaurant moved from 214 to 112 21st Street North.
- September: K. L. Jones purchased the Parliament House hotel out of bankruptcy.
- The first gifts from the Dwight and Lucille Beeson Collection were received by the Birmingham Museum of Art.
- WBRC was the first station to use a microwave-transmitting live news truck for newsgathering.
- BE&K's Redrock Construction Company was shut down.
- Salem's Diner opened.
- Joy Daugherty founded Interiorscapes.
- Town of Adam Brown subdivision was established.
- Beautiful 94 went on the air.
- Birmingham (SSN-695), a Los Angeles-class nuclear attack submarine went into service.
- Birmingham Festival of Arts celebrated Belgium with several events throughout the year.
- Bright Star Restaurant opened their "1907 Room" for banquet dining.
- Jonathan McPherson assumed operations of the Scott-McPherson Funeral Home in Fairfield.
- The Birmingham Apple Core was founded.
- May 20: Sun Ra and his Arkestra were the musical guests on Saturday Night Live.
- FM 104.7 changed their call sign to WZZK.
- James Spann began his television career at Tuscaloosa's WCFT 33.
- Ron Council began publishing the 222 newsletter for residents of the 35222 ZIP code.
- December 1: WVSU-FM began broadcasting from Samford University.
- March 15: Vida Blue was traded to the San Francisco Giants.
- December 1: Jeff Davis High School defeated Vestavia Hills High School 21-7 in the 4-A football championship game at Legion Field.
- December 2: Alabama defeated Auburn 34–16 in the Iron Bowl at Legion Field.
- The Alabama Barons baseball team went 5-0 before the Freedom Baseball League folded.
- Mel Allen was awarded the Baseball Hall of Fame's Ford C. Frick Award.
- Bobby Allison won the Daytona 500.
- Gene Bartow began the UAB Blazers men's basketball program.
- John Brophy succeeded Glen Sonmor as coach of the Birmingham Bulls.
- Britt Burns made his debut with the Chicago White Sox.
- Sarah Patterson was hired by Bear Bryant to coach the Alabama Crimson Tide women's gymnastics team.
- Birmingham Mural Project began. Murals completed included Geo-Chromatic Progress.
- The Kiwanis Special miniature train began rolling through Noccalula Falls Park.
- Airships, by Barry Hannah
- Baal, by Robert McCammon
- On Human Nature, by E. O. Wilson
- Milton's Imagery and the Visual Arts: Iconographic Tradition in the Epic Poems, by Roland Frye
- March: Trinity United Methodist Church's sanctuary was completed.
- March 6: Campbell Hall opened on the UAB campus.
- April 7: Demolition of Northington Naval Hospital in Tuscaloosa commenced.
- October 19: Centreville Historic District was added to the National Register of Historic Places.
- November 1: Davenport & Harris Funeral Home on Martin Luther King Jr Drive was dedicated.
- Barrett Elementary School was renovated.
- Renovations to the Birmingham Zoo included remodelling the reptile house, construction of a new big cat area, and completion of the children's zoo.
- Five Mile Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant was completed.
- The Ski Lodge II apartment complex was built.
- John's Restaurant opened its new location at 112 21st Street North.
- Miller Steam Plant went into service.
- Newton DeBardeleben Operations Center was opened.
- Ridgecrest Baptist Church's original Huffman campus was built.
- Sunrise Pointe Apartments in Eastwood were built.
- Corridor X east of Fulton, Mississippi was approved.
- A large brick sanctuary was added to the west side of the John Drish residence by Southside Baptist Church (Tuscaloosa).
- An addition to The Club provided nine new "State Rooms" to the north of the original structure.
- Birmingham Sunlights were formed.
- Lanquidity by Sun Ra was released.
- O'Jays album So Full of Love topped the R&B album charts, and the single "Use ta Be My Girl" was a top 10 hit.
- Cincinnati Stomp by Big Joe Duskin was released.
- Candi Staton's album House of Love was released, with the single "Honest I Do I Love You" a top 50 hit in the UK.
- May: Richard C. Trucks replaced the retiring James Cantrell as minister of Third Presbyterian Church.
- June–November: Maryon Allen filled the U. S. Senate seat left vacant by the death of her husband, James Allen.
- October 5: Pop singer Dana married Damien Scallon.
- November: Pete Clifford was elected to fill Don Hawkins' unexpired seat on the Birmingham City Council. Nina Miglionico assumed Hawkins' role as president.
- Gloria Goldstein was appointed assistant vice president and director of university relations for UAB.
- Michael Gross became superintendent of Homewood City Schools. Jack Farr replaced Gross as principal at Homewood High School, and Ann Robbins replaced Farr as principal of Edgewood Elementary School.
- John Harbert III was appointed to the State Alcoholic Beverage Control Board.
- John Amari was elected to the Alabama House of Representatives to represent Alabama House District 34.
- Mother Angelica appeared on the "Among Friends" show at the Baptist-affiliated WCFC-TV Chicago, which was a catalyst for her to create EWTN.
- Buddy Gray became the youth pastor at Hunter Street Baptist Church.
- Belon Friday succeeded Monroe Lewis as minister of Highlands United Methodist Church.
- Elmer Moree retired as principal of Coosa Valley Elementary School.
- Bill Myers succeeded Jim Parsons as Chief of the Birmingham Police Department.
- Ron Sparks entered politics by defeating a two-term incumbent to serve on the DeKalb County Commission.
- Donald Beatty and his wife donated their nearly 300 Jivano artifacts to the Smithsonian Institution, leading to Beatty being awarded the James Smithson Medal.
- Major Bashinsky was admitted into the Alabama State Bar.
- Nancy Crews began her term as mayor of California City, California.
- Tammy Wynette married George Richey.
- Buddy Glasgow was elected Shelby County Sheriff.
- Shirley Kahn began her career as an administrator at UAB.
- William Maddox served as president of the Society of Head and Neck Surgeons.
- George McMillan was elected Lieutenant Governor of Alabama.
- W. W. McTyeire Jr succeeded William Spencer III as president of The Club.
- Martha Myers accepted a post as a physician at the 80-bed Jibla Baptist Hospital in Yemen.
- Roland Frye co-founded the Center of Theological Inquiry.
- Current president C. J. South Jr joined Alabama Brick Delivery.
- Cecil Bauer promoted to president of South Central Bell.
- Bill Elder accepted a directorate with the Southern Baptist Convention.
- James Foy retired from the Auburn University office of student affairs.
- Arthur Payne was elected to his first term in the Alabama House of Representatives.
- Al Sutton, then 15, was given his license to the ministry in Charlotte, North Carolina.
- January 14: William A. Barnes, business owner
- February 7: Tim Johnson, NFL linebacker
- April 11: Josh Hancock, baseball player
- April 20: Clayne Crawford, actor
- May 19: Amy Lemley Bailey, fashionista
- July 7: Torrey Ward, basketball player and coach
- July 10: Ryan Haney, radio executive
- August 3: Tommy Dewey, actor and screenwriter
- September 2: Danner Kline, founder of Free the Hops
- September 12: Reuben Studdard, singer
- September 23: Michael Gibbons, prizefighter
- November 9: Jason Standridge, baseball player
- December 11: Roy Wood Jr, comedian
- Chloe Collins, executive director of the Sidewalk Moving Pictures Festival
- Kate Merritt Davis, artist
- La'Shondra Hemphill, music producer and DJ
- Riley Holifield
- Darryl W. Perry, radio station manager
- John Powers, sculptor
- Tadpole, hippopotamus
- Pulizter Prize was awarded to E. O. Wilson for On Human Nature.
- The first class of Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame was inducted. Inductees were Frank Adams, Amos Gordon, Erskine Hawkins, Haywood Henry, Sammy Lowe, Fess Whatley.
- George McMillan was named to the 10 Most Outstanding Legislators in the Nation.
- Major Bashinsky, juris doctorate, Samford University's Cumberland School of Law
- Greg Canfield, from Huffman High School
- Stephannie Huey, bachelor of business administration, Miles College
- Emmit King, from Hueytown High School
- Kerry James Marshall, bachelor of fine arts, Otis Institute of Art and Design, Los Angeles, California
- Ron Nored, Henry County (Tennessee) High School
- Martha Jane Patton, Cumberland School of Law
- Finis St John IV, University of Alabama
- Glennon Threatt, bachelor of science in political science, Princeton University
- February 3: Albert Boutwell, Mayor of Birmingham and lieutenant governor of Alabama
- June 20: Jess Lanier, Mayor of Bessemer
- September 11: S. Lawrence Johnson, pastor
- September 20: Ernest Forbes, founder of Forbes Distributing Company
- September 23: Lyman Bostock Jr, baseball player
- Henry Badham Jr, aviator
- Roderick Beddow, criminal defense attorney
- Frederick Calder, businessman
- Richard Blauvelt Coe, artist
- Don Hawkins, president Birmingham City Council
- Shirley Farley, wife of Alabama Power president Joe Farley
- See also List of Birmingham homicides in 1978
In 1978 the Copyright Act of 1976 took effect, making sweeping changes to United States copyright law. Hollywood film director Roman Polanski fled the country after pleading guilty to charges of engaging in sex with a 13-year-old girl. Serial killers Ted Bundy and John Wayne Gacy were captured. The first Unabomber attack takes place at Northwestern University. Atlantic City's first legal casino opened. The comic strip Garfield debuted. Pluto's moon, Charon, was discovered. Louise Brown, the first "test tube baby," was born. Two popes died, leading to Pope John Paul II being installed. The Camp David Accords were signed between Israel and Egypt. Love Canal was declared a federal emergency. Premium cable network Showtime went on the air. Muhammad Ali became the heavyweight boxing champion for the third time. The Jonestown Massacre took place.
Notable 1978 births include Ashton Kutcher, Topher Grace, Tia and Tamera Mowry, Justin Long, Kobe Bryant, and Clay Aiken. Deaths in 1978 included those of Hubert Humphrey, Robert Shaw, Edgar Bergen, and Norman Rockwell.
Top-grossing films were Greast, Superman, Animal House, Every Which Way But Loose, and Heaven Can Wait. The Deer Hunter swept the Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Supporting Actor.
Hit singles included the Bee Gees' "Stayin' Alive" and "Night Fever", John Travolta & Olivia Newton-John's "You're the One That I Want", the Village People's "YMCA", and Andy Gibb's "Shadow Dancing". The Incredible Hulk, Dallas, 20/20, Taxi, Mork & Mind, WKRP in Cincinnati, and Diff'rent Strokes premiered on network television.
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