1874 was the third year after the founding of the city of Birmingham.
- May 19–22: 1874 Alabama Press Association convention
- November 22: A tornado ripped through Montevallo, destroying half the city and killing 2 people.
- November 24: George S. Houston succeeded David P. Lewis as Governor of Alabama.
- Baker County was renamed Chilton County.
- Birmingham City Schools were founded with the opening of the Free School.
- B. B. Comer took office on the Barbour County Court of Commissioners.
- John Harris succeeded Obediah Berry as Mayor of Tuscaloosa.
- Robert Ligon succeeded Alexander McKinstry as Lieutenant Governor of Alabama.
- William H. Morris won the 1874 Birmingham mayoral election.
- The New Castle Post Office was established in the town of New Castle.
- First Christian Church was founded.
- C. A. Woodson succeeded E. T. Smythe as pastor of First Baptist Church of Birmingham. He was then succeeded by A. J. Waldrop.
- November 18: R. H. Hagood succeeded James T. Eubank as Jefferson County Sheriff.
- Mary Cahalan became the first teacher hired for the Free School.
- John Camp was elected to the Texas State Senate.
- D. C. B. Connelly became the first principal of the Free School.
- G. H. Gultry succeeded Henry Furgurson as Walker County Sheriff.
- Colonel J. J. Jolly arrived in Birmingham with his family.
- Wallace McElwain sold his personal property and moved with his family to Oxford in Calhoun County.
- Carlos Smith succeeded Nathaniel Lupton as president of the University of Alabama.
- April 12: William Bankhead, U. S. Speaker of the House
- Henry T. DeBardeleben, industrialist and executive
- Hill Ferguson, insurance executive and civic leader
- William Leslie Welton, architect
- Attorney John Terry married his second wife, the former Mary E. Taylor.
In 1874, Camille Saint-Saëns' composition Danse Macabre premiered. Birmingham, England's Aston Villa Football Club was founded. Philadelphia Zoo, the first public zoo in the U.S., opened. Gold was discovered in South Dakota's Black Hills. The Agra Canal opened in India.
Notable books published in 1874 included Far From the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardyby and The Mysterious Island by Jules Verne. Notable music composed in 1874 included Symphony No. 4 by Anton Bruckner, Pictures at an Exhibition (for piano) by Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky, Piano Concerto No. 1 by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, and Requiem by Giuseppe Verdi.
Notable births in 1874 included author William Somerset Maugham, writer and art patron Gertrude Stein, baseball player Honus Wagner, magician Harry Houdini, poet Robert Frost, President Herbert Hoover, composer Charles Ives, and Prime Minister Winston Churchill. Notable deaths included Siamese twins Chang and Eng Bunker, former president Millard Fillmore, engineer and physicist Moritz von Jacobi, and physicist Anders Jonas Ångström.
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