About the Birmingham Region

The city of Birmingham, Alabama is located in Jefferson County, a central portion of Alabama very diverse in its culture, attractions and geographical nature. The city and surrounding communities are located in the southern foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. Seniors are particularly fond of Birmingham for its temperate climate. This is an incredibly picturesque region with gently rolling hills, an abundance of forests, rivers and lakes. Birmingham is one of the southern most cities in the Appalachian Chain; a scenic drive to the top provides spectacular views much like those of the Great Smokey's to the north. The city has well developed interstates and local highways that allow for easy access to outlaying areas.

Birmingham ranks as one of America's most desirable top fifty cities to live in. Rating high in healthcare and listed as one of the most affordable and appreciating cities for homeowners. It is praised as a city that hasn't lost its "southern soul" and today the city is a true reflection of southern charm. Birmingham has an economic base of business and service industries. Seniors in the area will find a wide selection of housing and related senior services. Also valuable to seniors are the sixteen medical facilities in the area including the renowned University of Alabama at Birmingham Medical Center (see Senior Services listed below).

Birmingham's Metro Area

Birmingham City proper boasts an estimated population of 236,620 and was noted as one of the most livable mid-size cities in the nation. The city serves as the primary hub for neighboring urban communities known as the Greater Birmingham area. The city is surrounded by 7-counties increasing the Greater Birmingham metropolitan area population to 1.1 million people. These counties include Jefferson, Shelby, Bibb, Blount, Chilton, St. Clair, and Walker. The Greater Birmingham area is the center of Alabama's business and cultural life. Listed below is more information about the Greater Birmingham metropolitan area including history, attractions and senior services.

Birmingham's Climate

Birmingham's moderate climate appeals to many seniors for their retirement years. The city has an overall temperate climate characterized by warm summers, mild winters and abundant rainfall. The Birmingham location has slightly less rainfall than the coastal area and is somewhat cooler. The average temperature for Birmingham in July is 80.2 degrees Fahrenheit. The average annual temperature is 62 degrees Fahrenheit. Snowfall is infrequent in the state, except for the highest of the Appalachian Highlands located in the upper eastern portion of the state. The average yearly rainfall in Birmingham is about 52 inches. Hurricanes sometimes affect the coastal areas of the state in late summer. Birmingham has four significant seasons making the outdoors enjoyable all year. Birmingham says its sunny climate dovetails beautifully with the sunny southern hospitality of its people. The city's people will go out of their way to make your time in Birmingham most memorable.

Birmingham's History

The city was founded in 1871. Alabama's early industry was agriculture. This changed with the start of large-scale mining and the construction of two major railroad lines within the city, the Alabama & Chattanooga and South& North railroads. This valuable railroad transportation helped Birmingham's early steel industry in the late 1800's. Nearby the railroad crossings, were deposits of three principal raw materials used in making steel, they were iron ore, coal, and limestone. Birmingham is noted as one of the few places in the world where three mineral deposits are located in close proximity. After the Civil War Birmingham was a fast growing city earning the nicknames The Magic City and The Pittsburgh of the South. During the first half of the1900's the economy changed from primarily iron and steel back to agriculture. After the World Wars Birmingham's economy then gradually changed to a variety of electronics, apparel, paper products, technology, textiles and manufactured goods. Though manufacturing is still a major part of Birmingham's economy, Birmingham is also noted for is medical research, regional banking and publishing power making Birmingham a well diversified. Other quick facts about Birmingham are: In the 1950's and 60's Birmingham was the center of the civil rights struggle for African Americans. In 1963 Martin Luther King wrote his famous Letter from the Birmingham Jail. In 1971 Birmingham celebrated its Centennial. In 1979 Birmingham elected its first African-American mayor, Dr. Richard Arrington Jr. In 1996 Birmingham hosted Olympic soccer at its own Legion Field. Internationally Birmingham has ten sister cities located in:

  • Hitachi, Japan
  • Gweru, Zimbabwe
  • Szekeshfehrevar, Hungary
  • Cape Town, South Africa
  • Pomiglian D'Arco, Italy
  • Vinista, Ukraine
  • Anshan, China
  • Plzen, Czech Republic
  • Rosh Haayin, Israel
  • Al Karak, Jordan

Birmingham's Attractions

A major part of Birmingham and the state of Alabama's attraction is the abundance of rivers and lakes. There is extensive navigable river mileage throughout the state. This extensive water system also supports an abundance of forests, lush tropical vegetation and wildlife. Enjoyment of the outdoors is a primary recreation in the area whether hiking, bass fishing or just enjoying the picturesque Alabama landscape. Nearby sites to see are: The colorful Aldrege Gardens, Watery places including Lake Martin, Wind Creek State Park, trails of the Ruffner Mountain Nature Center and Talladega National Forest. For those who like geological differences try DeSoto Caverns and the State's highest point at Cheaha Mountain. If you prefer something a little more leisurely such as golfing, try The Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail.

Birmingham is foremost a metropolitan area and offers cultural destinations such as The Alabama Theatre, The Alys Stephens Center for the Performing Arts, Boutwell Auditiorium, The Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex, The Verizon Wireless Music Center, Alabama Syphony Orchestra, Birmingham Ballet and Opera, Wright Center Opera Hall and Riverchase Galleria.

Birmingham presents local grills and a variety of fine dining choices amongst its many café's and restaurants. Destination shopping is available at Pepper Place, The Summit, Colonial Brookwood Village, Century Plaza, Watermark Place and Eastwood Mall.

art and history
The City of Birmingham boasts a variety of art and history museums that include the Heart of Dixie Railroad Museum, Naked Art, Samuel Ullman Museum and the Karl C. Harrison Museum of George Washington. Other local points of interest include: Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame, Alabama Sports Hall of Fame, Arlington Antebellum Home, Barber Vintage Motor-sports Park and Museum, The Birmingham Botanical Gardens, and Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, Sloss Furnaces. The local Birmingham area and the state of Alabama are home to many historical military landmarks from the civil war. Enjoy exploring for example the Horseshoe Bend National Military Park in Dadeville.

Birmingham's Transportation

Services for transportation include the Birmingham Jefferson County Transit Authority, known as MAX the Metro Area Express bus system, American Public Transportations Association, Birmingham Airport, Amtrak's Crescent train connecting to major cities, Greyhound, and many local and private taxi and shuttle services. Birmingham is served by three Interstates, I-20, I-65, and I-59. The city also has a southern beltway Interstate 459. Other main thoroughfares are U.S. Highway 31 and U.S. Highway 280 along with the Red Mountain Expressway. There is future construction for alternate beltways and interstates as well.

Birmingham's Directory

The term Birmingham Directory covers Jefferson County and the cities within the county. Although Birmingham is the largest city in the area, other smaller cities include:

Located in Jefferson County with a population of 29,672, Was founded In 1886 by Henry Fairfield DeBardeleben. DeBardeleben an Iron and steel magnate dreamt of making the city a steel center, attractive to companies and people from all over the United States. In 1887 DeBardeleben purchase 4,000 acres of land marking off blocks for the new town, along the rail lines of the Alabama Great Southern Railway. De Bardeleben believed that the town's name should reflect an economy that was built on the iron ore and steel industry. He named the city Bessemer in honor of Sir Henry Bessemer inventor of the open-hearth method of steel production. DeBardeleben's dream began to take effect the town became a boomtown nicknamed the "The Marvel City" The mining and steel based economy of the city made it the fourth largest city in Alabama during the 1920's. The city suffered in the recessions of 1893 and 1907 relying solely on the limited resource of the steel industry. In 1907 U.S. Steel Corporation bought out the Tennessee Coal, Iron and Railroad Company and used its resources to develop the Bessemer area. USSC established a welfare program and orchestrated a medical clinic, headed by Dr. Lloyd Noland a physician instrumental in discovering the cause of Yellow Fever. During this time Yellow fever plagued the Panama Canal workers. USS supported the building of roads, drainage and sewer systems and established an educational system for the people of Panama.

Founded in 1910 with a population of 12,381, was originally named Corey. The city was planned as a model city by the Tennessee Coal, Iron and Railroad Company, to house workers in the Fairfield Works plant now owned by the U.S. Steel Corporation.

Located in Jefferson County offers excellent neighborhoods, shopping, recreation and top notch retirement living for all ages. The Riverchase Galleria is a 70-acre complex in located in Hoover home to over 200 stores. Hoover is also home to the Birmingham Barons a Southern league double-A baseball team. Nearby in Hoover is the Moss Rock preserve, a gorgeous 250-acre nature preserve.

Mountain Brook
Located in Jefferson County with a population of 20,604, is an affluent suburb of Birmingham and is among the wealthiest cities in the United States.

Located in Jefferson County with a population of 12,924,is ranked by a Money Magazine study as number 56 out of 100 as one of the best places to live in 2005.

Vestavia Hills
Located in Jefferson County, on the southern edge of the city with a population of 24,476. Named for the 20-acre estate of Birmingham's former Governor George Ward, Nestled in the crest of Shades Mountain, Wards mansion became a landmark after it was built in 1925. The house was designed after the domed Temple of Vesta in Rome, with twenty white massive columns encircling the pink sandstone walls. The expansive gardens hosted live peacocks, ornate statuary, and a domed gazebo modeled after the Temple of Sibyl in Tivoli. The estate became a tourist stop between Birmingham and Montgomery and was used as a tearoom, reception hall and then donated to the Vestavia Hills Baptist Church. The church demolished the temple structure in 1971 to make room for a larger building. The gazebo was moved closer to the highway promoting a landmark gateway to the Vestavia Hills community.

Birmingham's other smaller cities located in Jefferson County are: Adamsville, Centerpoint, Fultondale, Gardendale, Homewood, Hueytown, Irondale, Midfield, Pleasant Grove, Tarrant City.

Senior Services in the Birmingham Region

Birmingham's' temperate and moderate city size make it a very appealing city to seniors and families as a nice place to live. The city offers the conveniences of a larger metropolitan area with a good infrastructure of housing, transportation, medical and educational resources. Seniors in the area will find a variety of senior housing ranging from independent retirement communities, continuum of care communities, assisted living, skilled nursing, Alzheimer's assisted and Alzheimer's skilled nursing. Other senior services include a wide choice of home health care, home medical services and senior support services. The Greater Birmingham area has 7-Medical Centers, 5-Hospitals and many other specific health service clinics and offices providing convenience in all areas of health. Finally, Birmingham offers a top-notch senior service called Home Instead Senior Care. Home Instead provides a full range of services for the elderly to live independently and support for caregivers. Use our Search Senior Services link to learn more about the variety of senior housing and senior support services located in the Birmingham region.

Visit Resources to learn more about the Birmingham region.