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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Birmingham in Jefferson County, Alabama — The American South (East South Central)
 

Before Birmingham: Jones Valley

 
 
Before Birmingham: Jones Valley Marker image. Click for full size.
By Sandra Hughes, September 17, 2013
1. Before Birmingham: Jones Valley Marker
Inscription. Red Mountain, where you are standing, and Jones Valley, which stretches before you, were sites of human activity long before Birmingham's founding in 1871.

Native American presence
Recorded history and archaeological evidence indicate the presence of Native American people in Jones Valley stretching back 12,000 years.

• From 1500 to 1800 members of Alabama's Creek Nation fished and hunted in the area.
• The Creeks, or Muscogee, are believed by many to descend from the mound-building people who flourished in the area from 1000 to 1450.

Early settlement
Pioneers from Virginia, the Carolinas, and other states settled throughout Jefferson County and lent their names to towns and communities that dot the valley to this day.

• Among the first pioneers was John Jones, who traveled from Tennessee in 1815 to settle in the valley that today bears his name.
• By 1860, only 12,000 people lived in Jefferson County, and farming was the main occupation.

Toward an iron Industry
Although the dream of an industrial city in Jones Valley would not be realized until after the Civil War, iron sparked the imagination of early settlers and visitors to the area in the decades preceding the city's founding.

• One early inhabitant, Baylis Grace, was said
Illustration of a typical mound-building city in Alabama image. Click for full size.
By Sandra Hughes, September 17, 2013
2. Illustration of a typical mound-building city in Alabama
Courtesy of Steven Patricia
to first prove that Red Mountain contains iron ore when he sent local ore to a nearby forge and got back wrought-iron bars.
• Local iron, processed in Civil War foundries in Irondale, Tannehill, and Oxmoor, supported the manufacture of armaments of Selma.
 
Erected by C. Byron Ireland Foundation, Mr. and Mrs. Glen Ireland II, and Mr. and Mrs. William R. Ireland Sr.
 
Location. 33° 29.526′ N, 86° 47.714′ W. Marker is in Birmingham, Alabama, in Jefferson County. Marker can be reached from Valley View Drive west of Richard Arrington Jr Boulevard South. Touch for map. Located in Vulcan Park. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1701 Valley View Drive, Birmingham AL 35209, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Mineral Railroad Trestle (a few steps from this marker); A New City (a few steps from this marker); Industry (within shouting distance of this marker); Vulcan Statue (within shouting distance of this marker); The Lone Pine Mine (within shouting distance of this marker); The Iron Man: Vulcan (within shouting distance of this marker); South (within shouting distance of this marker); The Works Progress Administration (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Birmingham.
 
Also see . . .
Pioneer living conditions in early Jefferson County. image. Click for full size.
By Sandra Hughes, September 17, 2013
3. Pioneer living conditions in early Jefferson County.
Courtesy of Birmingham Public Library Archives
 Vulcan Park and Museum. (Submitted on October 6, 2013.)
 
Categories. Industry & CommerceNative AmericansSettlements & Settlers
 
Spaulding Mine on Red Mountain image. Click for full size.
By Sandra Hughes, September 17, 2013
4. Spaulding Mine on Red Mountain
Before Birmingham: Jones Valley Marker image. Click for full size.
By Sandra Hughes, September 17, 2013
5. Before Birmingham: Jones Valley Marker
lower marker is Mineral Railroad next marker Before Birmingham: Jones Valley top marker: A new city
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on October 5, 2013, by Sandra Hughes of Killen, Usa. This page has been viewed 484 times since then and 39 times this year. Last updated on May 28, 2015, by J. Makali Bruton of Querétaro, Mexico. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on October 5, 2013, by Sandra Hughes of Killen, Usa. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
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