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Merkel (or Merkle) was the name of a community which grew around the construction of the Birmingham Water Works' Cahaba Pumping Station on the bank of the Cahaba River. It was named for engineer William Merkel who was placed in charge of the construction in 1887 and remained in the community as superintendent of the station.

Because of the danger of flooding, the community soon moved about a half mile west and adopted the name "New Merkel", later renamed Cahaba Heights.


  • "How Local Communities Got Their Names" (1st Quarter 2014) The Jefferson Journal