Oct. 10, 1891
The Birmingham Railway and Electric Co. was incorporated on May 5, 1890, as a consolidation of the Birmingham Union Street Railway Co. and the newly incorporated Birmingham Electric Co., which had secured state charters to operate electric-powered streetcars in the city.
On Feb. 12, 1891, the company absorbed the Bessemer and Birmingham Railroad. That spring and summer, the first electric lines were strung along the lines from North Highlands to South Highlands and from Elyton to Avondale. The J.G. Brill Co. of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, ordered 24 small, two-ended covered cars. The first car went into service on the Highlands line on Oct. 10, 1891.
The Panic of 1893 left the company in financial straits. Voting control fell to a group of Nashville investors, who gradually expanded service to East Lake and bought the Birmingham, Powderly & Bessemer Railway.
Nat Baxter Jr., president of Tennessee Coal, Iron and Railroad Co., took control of the company. He arranged with shareholders of Consolidated Electric Light Co. and Birmingham Gas Co. to become part of Birmingham Railway, Light & Power Co. which was incorporated on Feb. 23, 1898.
For more on Alabama’s Bicentennial, visit Alabama 200.