1997 was the 126th year after the founding of the City of Birmingham.
- January 19: The artist then not known as Prince performed at Boutwell Auditorium, and later ate at Bottega and made an unannounced appearance during a Cheesebrokers show at Five Points Music Hall.
- February 21: Abortion clinic bomber Eric Robert Rudolph detonated a bomb outside the Otherside Lounge, a nightclub in Atlanta.
- March 13: The Storm Water Management Authority was incorporated.
- June 5: A dropped steel coil caused damage on I-65 near Green Springs Avenue.
- August 25: A dropped steel coil punched 11 holes in I-20/59 near 24th Street North.
- Artist Lonnie Holley reached a settlement with the Birmingham International Airport Authority to relocate to Harpersville.
- Aldridge Gardens completed a master plan for development.
- 15,000 pounds of crawfish were consumed at Beam's Crawfish Boil.
- ABC 33/40's decision not to air a controversial episode of Ellen spurred Birmingham Pride Alabama to organized a party at Boutwell Auditorium where 2,500 came to watch the show via satellite feed.
- Sardis Missionary Baptist Church hosted the national Promise Keeper's pastor's conference.
- Attorney Luther Strange founded the Red Mountain Republican Club.
- WTTO and WDBB joined the WB Network.
- Jim Rotch created the "Birmingham Pledge"
- A new Birmingham City Council was seated, with only three of nine districts represented by incumbents.
- The USS Birmingham (SSN-695) nuclear attack submarine was released from active service.
- The Downtown Action Committee ceased to exist.
- The City of Birmingham purchased the site of the proposed first phase of the Railroad Reservation Park.
- Birmingham commissioned a Crime Reduction Plan.
- The McCarty-Farrar Lodge No. 8 of Free and Accepted Masons was created from the merger of Farrar Lodge No. 8 and McCarty Lodge No. 735.
- Birmingham Festival of Arts Salute to Germany
- The American Ballet Theater launched its first Summer Intensive outside of New York at the University of Alabama.
- Willie James Ware was nominated to the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Ninth Judicial Circuit by Bill Clinton. The nomination was withdrawn after Ware's lies about his connection to Civil Rights-era murder victim Virgil Ware were revealed.
- The Birmingham News took over the morning newspaper role, switching with the smaller Birmingham Post-Herald.
- Colonial Properties Trust purchased Brookwood Village.
- Park Communications, owner of WBMG 42, merged with Media General.
- Regal Cinemas purchased Cobb Theatres.
- BE&K acquired Terranext, LLC environmental consulting and engineers of Denver, Colorado
- Jimmy Taylor purchased the John A. Hand Building for $1.5 million at auction.
- Bayer Properties purchased the site of the old John Carroll High School on Highland Avenue for $2.1 million.
- Frank Poe was named executive director of the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex.
- The Milo's Tea Company began selling gallon jugs and 8-ounce bottles of "Milo's Famous Sweet Tea."
- Compass Bank acquired Enterprise National Bank of Jacksonville, Florida and the Horizon and Central Texas Bancorps of Texas in separate deals.
- Dean Foods acquired Barber's Dairy.
- Just For Feet bought Florida-based Athletic Attic and Michigan-based Imperial Sports.
- EBSCO Industries surpassed $1 billion in annual sales.
- The DeBardeleben family purchased Hardie-Tynes.
- David and Joseph Maluff bought Full Moon Bar-B-Que.
- Golden Temple Natural Grocery and Cafe in Five Points South expanded.
- AllSouth Appliance Group was founded by Tyler and Josh Hillman.
- Aurora Productions was founded by Steven Antselevich and Yuri Shapochka.
- The Bank was founded by James A. Taylor.
- Creative Concepts was founded by Scott and Kathy Green.
- Terry and Dottie Smith opened Edgar's Bakery & Cafe at the Shoppes of Colonnade.
- Interconn Resources was founded by Kevin Stump.
- Ona Watson opened Ona's Music Room on 20th Street South.
- Sam Giffin opened Birmingham's first Roly Poly franchise at 2009 15th Avenue South.
- The Scottish Town Piper opened on 20th Street South.
- Scripture Candy was founded by Brian Adkins.
- Stignani's Market & Deli opened in Edgewood.
- July: Chef Franklin Biggs opened Homewood Gourmet.
- Summer: The Station nightclub opened on Morris Avenue.
- September 26: The Carmike Wynnsong 12 cinema multiplex opened at The Oaks at Lakeshore shopping center on Lakeshore Parkway.
- December 30: Covenant Bank was chartered in Leeds.
- Louie Louie closed.
- July 31: Center Point 6 closed.
- Meadowlark Farms restaurant in Alabaster closed.
- January: Scott Register premiered the Reg's Coffee House format.
- Richard Jacks moved from WBMG-TV to WVTM-TV.
- Tina Savas launched the Birmingham Weekly alternative newspaper.
- The Over the Mountain Journal launched a short-lived companion, the Cahaba Journal.
- Shelia Smoot began working for WBRC 6.
- December: Dick Broadcasting switched frequences for WRAX-FM and WENN-FM.
- The BJCC Arena hosted NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament regional games. The Arizona Wildcats emerged from a bracket that included Providence, Kansas and UT-Chattanooga.
- Terrell Owens emerged as a starter for the San Francisco 49ers, scoring 8 touchdowns on the season.
- Jay Sigel won the Bruno's Memorial Classic
- March 4: The press box at UAB's Young Memorial Field was named in honor of Harry "The Hat" Walker.
- April 12: Eric "Butterbean" Esch won his IBA Super-Heavyweight title.
- May 10: Mark Martin won the Winston Select 500 with a record average speed of 188.354 MPH.
- June 12: The 1997 Rickwood Classic was played with the Birmingham Barons taking on the Chattanooga Lookouts at Rickwood Field.
- August 9: The Birmingham Barons' Jeff Leifer tied a team record by hitting two triples in a game against Orlando.
- December 1: Golden State Warriors player Latrell Sprewell choked his head coach, P. J. Carlesimo, during practice.
- Former Birmingham Barons manager Terry Francona debuted as manager of the Philadelphia Phillies.
- Auburn Tigers pitcher Josh Hancock went 2-0 in two starts and struck out 32 in the College World Series.
- Hewitt-Trussville High School pitcher Jason Standridge was drafted in the 1st round (31st overall) by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.
- Track and field athlete Carl Lewis retired from competition.
- Scott Strand became the first local resident to win the Vulcan Run.
- Memphis 28 - UAB Blazers 7 in the first football game between the Battle for the Bones rivals.
- Alabama State 20 - Alabama A&M 13 in the Magic City Classic at Legion Field.
- The Alabama Saints semi-pro soccer team went 5-12 in its inaugural season.
- UAB Blazers men's soccer upset the #1 ranked UCLA Bruins 2-0.
- David Bonnett retired from professional race car driving.
- The Auburn Tigers won a national championship in swimming.
- April 14: "Partners with Bear and Shug", sculpture by Mark Hopkins at the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame.
- "Antelumpen", sculpture by Zachary Coffin at the Birmingham Museum of Art.
- May 4: Camp Jack Wright was dedicated.
- September 13: Spike Lee's 4 Little Girls, a documentary about the bombing of 16th Street Baptist Church premiered at the Alabama Theatre.
- Wes Chapman's Dracula was premiered by the Alabama Ballet at the Alabama Theatre.
- David Friedman: Portrait of an Exploiter documentary film about Birmingham native David F. Friedman.
- Commandments, feature film starring Courteney Cox.
- Power Rangers Turbo, feature film starring Barret Swatek.
- Incognito, feature film directed by John Badham.
- Her Maiden Name, feature film shot in Birmingham.
- But For Birmingham: The Local and National Movements in the Civil Rights Struggle by Glenn T. Eskew
- Birmingham Bound, An Atlas of the South's Premier Industrial Region by Philip Morris and Marjorie Longenecker White
- Blind Vengeance: The Roy Moody Mail Bomb Murders by Ray Jenkins, detailing the mail bombing that killed Judge Robert Vance in 1989.
- Listening With My Heart by Heather Whitestone and Angela Elwell Hunt.
- Dancing on the Edge, novel by Han Nolan
- Walker Percy: A Life, biography of Walker Percy by Patrick H. Samway.
- His Secret Duchess, Heart of the Night, The Redemption of Deke Summers, and The Raven's View, romance novels by Gayle Wilson.
- The First Iron Bowl: Alabama versus Auburn, February 22, 1893, compiled by Alvin W. Hudson
- The Beauty Box by Kathy Kemp and Karim Shams-Basha.
- On Being Female, Black, and Free, collected essays by Margaret Walker.
- Silent Witness by Richard North Patterson.
- Design for Dying by Timothy Leary and R. U. Sirius.
- A Southern Family and Father's Melancholy Daughter, by Gail Godwin.
- The Summit "lifestyle center" at U. S. Highway 280 and I-459.
- Blountsville Public Library
- Office for the Advancement of Developing Industries opened at the UAB Research Park in Oxmoor.
- Shaia's remodeled store in downtown Homewood.
- HealthSouth Corporate Headquarters
- Construction began for the Visionland amusement park in March.
- Styx Restaurant at the Riverchase Galleria.
- Essex House and the Downtown Club were demolished for the future Energen Plaza.
- UAB Areana was renamed for Gene Bartow.
- Interior renovations, East Lake Library
- St Vincent's Hospital Women's & Children's Center
- Larry House residence at Shoal Creek Golf and Country Club
- The Alabama Symphony Orchestra was reorganized with Mark Gibson conducting and Gustav Meier as artistic advisor.
- June 13-15: 1997 City Stages headliners included Kool & the Gang, Emmylou Harris, Ray Charles, John Prine, and The Temptations.
- Taylor Hicks' first album In Your Time was released.
- Moonbuggy's album Infinity Loop was released.
- Little Red Rocket released the album Who Did You Pay and signed with Geffen Records.
- The Shame Idols released the album Rocket Cat.
- Two compilations of Sam Dees' music, Gospel Tribute Album and Sam Dees were released.
- Writer Caitlín R. Kiernan left the Athens-based band "Death's Little Sister".
- Verbena released the album "Souls for Sale."
- Ann Reynolds succeeded interim president Paul Hardin to become President of UAB.
- Tobias Wolff became the Ward W. and Priscilla B. Woods Professor at Stanford University's School of Humanities and Sciences.
- Stanford professor and Birmingham native Condoleezza Rice was appointed to the Federal Advisory Committee on Gender-Integrated Training in the Military.
- United States Representative Earl Hilliard embarked on a fact-finding tour of Libya.
- Former Birmingham Stallions owner Marvin L. Warner was released from probation.
- Buddy Champion became pastor of First Baptist Church of Decatur.
- Bob Riley succeeded Glen Browder as Representative of the 3rd Congressional District of Alabama.
- Robert Aderholt succeeded Tom Bevill as Representative of the 4th Congressional District of Alabama.
- James Kirklin became the Cardiovascular Surgical Research Professor at UAB.
- Don Cosper succeeded Kim McMurray as president of AIA Birmingham.
- Februay 9: 7 grams of Timothy Leary's cremated remains were launched into orbit on a Pegasus rocket.
- Gerald Hicks succeeded Bud Newell as Mayor of Hueytown.
- Bob Roller was hired as director of the Samford Athletic Foundation.
- Ray Woodard suffered an aneurysm and stroke, forcing his retirement from coaching.
- Cordell Wynn retired from the presidency of Stillman College.
- The Kiwanis Club of Birmingham established the Birmingham Business Hall of Fame.
- The Alabama Healthcare Hall of Fame was established at the University of Alabama.
- Neil Bonnett was inducted into the National Motorsports Press Association's Hall of Fame.
- George Watson was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions in World War II.
- Roland Frye was awarded the Thomas Jefferson Medal by the American Philosophical Society.
- Mark Waid was given the Award for Favorite Writer by Comics Buyer's Guide.
- James Woodward was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws at UAB.
- Artist Kerry James Marshall won a MacArthur Foundation "Genius Grant".
- Miller Gorrie was inducted into the Alabama Engineering Hall of Fame.
- Miss Shelby County: Sara Jane Ketcham
- "Alabama Teacher of the Year": Robin Litaker
- Singer Bo Bice graduated from Calhoun Community College.
- Ashley Halfman earned her bachelor's degree in biology from Birmingham-Southern College.
- Civil Rights figure James Hood earned a Doctor of Philosophy from the University of Alabama.
- Alann Johnson earned a bachelor's degree from Talladega College.
- Judge Alan King earned a Master of Arts in public and private management from Birmingham-Southern College.
- Actor, writer and Iraq War veteran Jeff Key graduated from the University of Alabama.
- Birmingham Police Chief Annetta Nunn completed the 11-week FBI Academy for Law Enforcement Professionals.
- Artist Heather Spencer graduated from the welding program at Bessemer Tech.
- Circuit Court Judge Nikki Still graduated from the University of Alabama School of Law.
- January 16: NAACP leader W. C. Patton
- January 27: Samford University president Leslie Wright
- February 1: ASHOF member Bo Russell
- February 15: Alabama Supreme Court justice Oscar Adams Jr
- March 22: Randy Duke, Dedra Hunt, Chelsea Hunt and Chelisa Hunt were murdered at their home in Pelham by Duke's son, Mark and an accomplice.
- March 24: Dancer and drummer Dale Serrano Sr
- May 8: Art Hanes, former Mayor of Birmingham
- May 21: Piper Davis, former Birmingham Black Barons player/manager
- June 10: Jerry Grundhoefer, jazz musician and club owner
- June 17: William Chambers, architect
- June 22: Everett Shepherd Jr, real estate developer
- August 26: Trussville Public Library librarian Jean Glenn
- August 29: Jefferson County Sheriff Mel Bailey
- October 3: Brian Tribble, music minister
- October 8: G. E. Kidder Smith, architecture writer and photographer
- October 20: Bookstore owner Gene Crutcher
- October 31: Baseball player and Barons coach Sam Hairston
- November 12: Gordon Holmquist, architect
- December 9: Angelo Herndon, labor organizer and Communist political activist
- Henry Sprott Long Sr, architect
- Alf Van Hoose, Birmingham News sportswriter
- See also List of Birmingham homicides in 1997
In 1997 Bill Cosby's son Ennis was murdered. Bill Clinton began his second term as President of the United States. The Green Bay Packers won Super Bowl XXXI. O. J. Simpson was found liable for the deaths of Ron Goldman and Nicole Brown Simpson in civil proceedings. The Hale-Bopp comet made its closest approach to Earth. Tony Blair became Prime Minister of the UK. Deep Blue defeated Garry Kasparov in chess. The Chicago Bulls won their 5th NBA championship. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone was published. F. W. Woolworth & Company went out of business. Boeing merged with McDonnell Douglas. Google.com was registered as an internet domain. The Florida Marlins won the World Series and Opryland USA closed its doors.
Notable films of 1997 included Titanic, As Good as it Gets, and L. A. Confidential. Steven Millhauser won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for Martin Dressler: The Tale of an American Dreamer and Arundhati Roy won the Booker Prize for The God of Small Things.
Notable deaths in 1997 included Deng Xiaoping, The Notorious B.I.G., Willem de Kooning, Allen Ginsberg, Jacques Cousteau, Jimmy Stewart, Charles Kuralt, Gianni Versace, William S. Burroughs, Princess Diana, Mother Teresa, and John Denver.
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