Birmingham Board of Aldermen

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The City of Birmingham was incorporated by the State of Alabama on December 19, 1871. The eight members of the Board of Aldermen were elected with each mayor to a term of two years. Each of the city's four wards elected two aldermen to the board. The board was sometimes referred to as the City Council. In 1887 (at least), the board met every second Wednesday evening in the Roden Block at 2nd Avenue North and 20th Street. In 1895, to reflect the increased size and population of the city, the Board was expanded to 18 members.


The first Board of Aldermen, serving in the administration of Mayor Robert H. Henley was nominated by a group of property owners called together by James Powell. Those names were sent to Governor Robert Lindsay who issued commissions by his order.

According to George Cruikshank's 1920 History of Birmingham and Its Environs, the first appointed board of Aldermen consisted of:

To those six, John Dubose, in his 1887 Jefferson County and Birmingham, Alabama: Historical and Biographical, adds John A. Milner as an Alderman. An 1886 Weekly Iron Age article listed William Barker, William Nabers, and Thomas Tate as having served on that first board as well.

William Alexander was appointed City Clerk and James McConnell Treasurer. O. D. Williams, as City Marshal, commanded two patrolmen, Robert Bailey and Henry Atkins.


The second board was elected along with Mayor James Powell in the 1873 Birmingham municipal election, held on Monday January 6. They were sworn into office immediately after the 658 votes were counted and certified. The Board of Aldermen included:

O'Brien resigned not long after the election due to his increasing business responsibilities and Charles Linn was elected by the remaining Aldermen to serve the remainder of his term.

R. B. Ryan was appointed City Clerk, but was succeeded by E. K. Fulton, V. H. Milner and E. V. Gregory during the course of the next two years. J. B. Francis was named Treasurer. W. G. Oliver served as Birmingham City Marshal. In 1874 the Board elected J. J. Jolly to serve as the first Birmingham City Attorney.


Mayor William H. Morris served two terms and had the service of the same group of aldermen in both. These were Christian Enslen, Thomas Y. Cain, James A. Curry, James W. Butler, Thomas Jeffers, Charles Linn, M. C. Wiley and George W. Allen.

J. B. Webb remained in the administration as City Marshal. John Jolly was City Attorney, Perry Carpenter was City Clerk, and James Francis was City Treasurer.

Morris resigned as Mayor in 1878 and the Aldermen elected Elyton Land Company president Henry M. Caldwell to serve his unexpired term.


The first administration of Thomas Jeffers included Benjamin F. Roden, George W. Allen, Willliam A. Smith, Mortimer Jordan Jr, Jule Lockwood, and Frank Nabers.

In Jeffers' second term Jordan, Lockwood and Nabers remained and were joined by C. L. Hardman, T. G. Paine, B. A. Thompson, C. C. Truss, and C. L. Wadsworth.

Others on the Board included E. V. Gregory, W. C. Steward, W. P. Brewer, A. C. Oxford, Isaac R. Hochstadter, J. H. Dargin, B. A. Thompson, W. S. Sykes, F. L. Wadsworth, James Going, and William Hood.

Frank Gazwell or Frank Gosnell and C. L. Hardman or C. T. Hardeman are members whose names are reported inconsistently.


The first of three administrations headed by Judge A. O. Lane brought together the following aldermen: C. P. Williamson, Benjamin F. Roden, Alonzo S. Elliott, John Ellis, T. L. Hudgins, James O'Connor, Frank V. Evans (4th Ward), and John Sheldon, along with Paul Earle, William Rushton Sr, William Brown, W. K. Rosser, and Charles F. Wheelock.


In A. O. Lane's second administration, only Berney was re-elected. Joining him were Isaac Hochstadter (3rd Ward), N. R. Rosser, James F. Smith, James Going, Fred Sloss, and E. V. Gregory.

1st Ward: E. V. Gregory & J. B. Cobbs 2nd Ward: W. K. Rosser & Alonzo S. Elliott 3rd Ward: C. Perkins & Isaac Hochstadter 4th Ward: Paul Earle & Frank V. Evans


Incumbent A. O. Lane easily won a third term over a "Workingman's Ticket" headed by physician James Luckie in the 1886 election on December 8, 1886. The event was judged to have been "the quietest election in the history of Birmingham."

Lane's Board of Aldermen for his third administration were:

Colley, Warnock and Enslen served on the cemetery committee. Warnock, Enslen and Hochstadter served on the finance and accounts committee. Eastman, Hochstadter and Drennen served on the fire committee. Enslen, Drennen and O'Connor served on the free schools committee. Smyer, Colley and Eastman served on the gas committee. Enslen and O'Connor served on the judiciary committee. Hochstadter, Colley and Smyer served on the markets committee. Drennen, Hochstadter and O'Connor served on the miscellaneous committee, O'Connor, Smyer and Colley served on the street improvements committee. Drennen, Warnock and Smyer served on the street railroads committee. And Eastman, Hochstadter and Drennen served on the water works committee.

H. A. Sharpe was Judge of the City Court, with James A. Hawkins as Solicitor, Frank Irion as clerk and register. Irion was assisted by N. L. Miller, H. C. Miller and E. M. Thrash.


Brown, representing the Third Ward, resigned in September 1889 and was replaced by Richmond Rochester. Higdon also resigned after buying a home outside the city in East Lake.





Mayor: Frank Evans



Mayor: Mel Drennen



The 1901 Birmingham municipal election, officially a Democratic party primary, was held on January 1, 1901. Mayor Mel Drennen ran unopposed.

Mayor: Mel Drennen Aldermen:


In 1903 the Board of Aldermen was expanded to include two representatives of each ward.


Mayor: George Ward



Mayor: George Ward


Mayor: Frank P. O'Brien


The Mayor-Aldermen system was replaced by the Birmingham City Commission, considered to be a more progressive and businesslike form of government, in 1911.


Preceded by:
Legislative Body for the City of Birmingham
1871 - 1911
Succeeded by:
Birmingham City Commission