Cities of the United States by Gale Group

By Gale Group

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French Establish First Settlement Represented on maps as early as 1507, the Gulf of Mexico inlet now known as Mobile Bay was navigated by European seafarers in 1519 when ships under the command of Spanish Admiral Alonso Alvaraz de Pineda sought a safe harbor in which to undertake repairs. The bay area was not really explored, however, until 1558. It was included in the vast region that was claimed for France’s King Louis XIV and was named Louisiana by French explorer Robert Cavelier de La Salle in 1682.

Birmingham was slow to recover from the Depression, although the federal government poured more than $350 million into the area in an attempt to stimulate the economy. The Works Progress Administration (WPA) tended to Birmingham’s streets and parks, and among its projects was the restoration of the city’s statue of Vulcan, the Roman god of the forge. The statue was removed from the fairgrounds and placed atop a pedestal on Red Mountain, where it still stands today. Gradually the city began to recover, and by the time World War II was declared in Europe, Birmingham’s manufacturing plants were busy preparing for an all-out war effort.

Its Comprehensive Cancer Center, one of 41 in the country and the only one in a five-state area, is ranked as expert. Birmingham’s early history is preserved at the Arlington Antebellum Home and Gardens, a Greek Revival mansion built between 1845 and 1850, now restored to its original splendor and filled with period pieces. The home also hosts craft demonstrations and a variety of social functions. Many of the 17 hospitals in the area offer specialized care while providing a total of more than 6,000 beds.

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