As the largest city in the state of Alabama, Birmingham is known as both ‘The Magic City’ and ‘The Pittsburgh of the South’, due to its massive periods of growth during the 20th century. Today, Birmingham is filled with residential options from modern, chic townhouses to sprawling, decadent southern mansions and even cozy, modest bungalows. Style influences on the homes of the area include the expansive wealth of the old south combined with modern architectural sensibilities.
Birmingham is divided into a number of general areas based on the ridgelines, rivers, and the dips of the natural landscape of its location in Jones Valley. Just south of the downtown area lies the Red Mountain district, a noticeable ridge which holds many of the broadcasting towers of the city. The area, termed ‘Over the Mountain’, includes Shades Valley and Shades Mountain and contains many of the most affluent neighborhoods in Birmingham, such as Mountain Brook, Vestavia Hills, Homewood, and Hoover. Sand Mountain divides the city from the more northern ridgelines, while Ruffner Mountain is to the east and contains one of the largest urban nature preserves in the country. Each of Birmingham’s communities is headed by a neighborhood association that supports the residents of that particular area. The huge metropolitan area of Birmingham includes 102 cities and 21 school districts.
Since its inception, Birmingham has always been one of the major industrial epicenters of the south, especially when it comes to steel. Today, it still relies on steel, but also on manufacturing, technology, education, government, medical research and health, commerce, finance, construction and engineering, and food services. In addition to a number of Fortune 500 and publicly traded companies, Birmingham contains major corporations such as O’Neal Industries, EBSCO Industries, Drummond Co, Brasfield and Gorrie, and McWane Inc. Two of the largest soft drink bottling enterprises in the country, the Pepsi Cola Company and the Coca-Cola Bottling Company, also make their homes in Birmingham.