1974 was the 103rd year after the founding of the city of Birmingham.
- January 27: The original Tutwiler Hotel was imploded.
- The Alabaster Fire Department began as a volunteer unit.
- The Birmingham Festival of Arts held a Salute to the Federal Republic of Germany.
- The Greater Birmingham Humane Society held the first Christmas Giving Tree.
- The Homewood City Council named the Homewood National Guard Armory as Fort William C. Mulkey in honor of Clem Mulkey, a soldier from Homewood killed in World War II.
- Rickwood Caverns became a state park.
- Joe Tucker Park Lake was created by damming Lee Brook.
- The Shelby County Historical Society was founded.
- September 1: Diamond Jim's opened for business on Morris Avenue.
- Angry Revolt closed.
- Argo Building Company was founded.
- Bill Strickland Chevrolet opened.
- The first Birmingham Home & Garden Show was held.
- Tinder Box opened at Brookwood Village.
- Bromberg's acquired the Underwood Jewelers Corporation of Jacksonville, Florida.
- Ronald Bruno joined the family business.
- Tad Cairns became owner of the Alabaster Dairy Queen.
- Bob Callahan and Lewis Fitts bought The Chukker.
- La Cocina and Ed's Pet World opened for business.
- Anita Evans bought Carlile's Barbecue.
- Folmar Architectural Millwork was established.
- Gene Crutcher Books closed.
- T. Morris Hackney purchased the Jones Foundry Company.
- Cliff Holman became manager of the Parliament House for nine months.
- Jim Skinner Ford moved from Ensley to Parkway East.
- Moody & Associates interior designers opened.
- Oaks Street opened.
- Owens and Woods Partnership, Birmingham's first black-owned architecture firm, was started.
- The Paperman ceased publication.
- Charles Ridley, the Peanut Man, began reselling peanuts from the Peanut Depot.
- Rosenberger's Birmingham Trunk opened its Brookwood Village location.
- Sterne, Agee & Leach acquired Shropshire, Frazer & Company of Mobile.
- Taylor & Taylor law firm was founded.
- Tuscaloosa Title Company was founded by Richard Shelby.
- Bailey's Corner was opened on 1st Avenue North.
- Eastgate Shopping Center in Center Point opened.
- The Birmingham Community Participation Program was established.
- U. W. Clemon and George McMillan were elected to the Alabama State Senate.
- Chriss Doss and Ben Erdreich were elected to the Jefferson County Commission.
- Earl Hilliard was elected to the Alabama House of Representatives.
- Roy Johnson was elected Speaker Pro Tem of the Alabama House of Representatives.
- George Wallace was elected Governor of Alabama for the third time.
- S. Lawrence Johnson retired as pastor of Pilgrim Congregational Church; Arnold Slater became interim pastor.
- Monroe Lewis became pastor of Highlands United Methodist Church.
- Brinkley Morton became rector of Cathedral Church of the Advent.
- Nelson H. Smith became president of the Progressive National Baptist Convention.
- December 21: The "Sea of Hands" play involving Kenny Stabler, Mike Kolen, and Clarence Davis, saw the Raiders defeat the Dolphins.
- The Alabama Crimson Tide won the SEC championship.
- The Birmingham Americans played their only season, earning a 17-5 record and becoming World Bowl champions.
- Neil Bonnett became a NASCAR driver.
- The first Charley Boswell Celebrity Golf Classic was hosted at Port Aquarius Golf Course.
- Reita Clanton joined the U. S. women's national handball team.
- The Iron Bowl saw Alabama Crimson Tide defeat the Auburn Tigers, 17-13.
- Paul Crane became an assistant coach for Bear Bryant.
- Lamar Green began a single season with the New Orleans Jazz.
- Hayes High School won the class 4A AHSAA boys basketball championship.
- Homewood High School won their first AHSAA football championship in class 4A, the highest class at the time.
- Wilbur Jackson began playing for the San Francisco 49ers.
- Lamar Johnson made his major-league debut with the Chicago White Sox.
- Jerry Pate won the U.S. Amateur Championship.
- Al Worthington began creating a baseball program at Jerry Falwell's Liberty University.
- 13 Mississippi Ghosts and Jeffrey by Kathryn Tucker Windham
- Jeffrey Introduces 13 More Southern Ghosts by Kathryn Tucker Windham
- Treasured Georgia Recipes by Kathryn Tucker Windham
- May 8: Sea Lion Pool
- September: Brookwood Village
- BJCC Theater
- Brookwood Metroplex phase I
- Cooper Green Deck
- Horton Mill Bridge (restored)
- Metropolitan Gardens (complete renovation)
- Porter Chapel Christian Methodist Episcopal Church
- St Vincent's Hospital addition
- Sears portion of Century Plaza
- Social Security Building (1974)
- WIAT Tower
- National Register of Historic Places additions: Briefield Furnace, Clarkson Bridge, John Looney House and Pioneer Museum, Old Shelby County Courthouse/Columbiana City Hall, and Steiner Building
 Films and TV
- A Day With Dana starring Dana Rosemary Scallon
- The Godfather, Part II featuring Al Gallodoro
- Thieves Like Us featuring Louise Fletcher
- The Virginia Hill Story starring Dyan Cannon
- Jim Nabors hosted a television special.
- "Birmingham" by Randy Newman
- Oldies rock band Chevy 6 formed.
- "Rock the Boat" by Hues Corporation (featuring Ann Kelley)
- The Locust Fork Band formed in Tuscaloosa.
- April 7: LaDonna Smith and Davey Williams held a first public performance as a duo at the Ferguson Center.
- Gene Bartow became head basketball coach at the University of Illinois.
- Tommy Charles became sports anchor at WBMG 42.
- William Christenberry began sculpting the dilapidated buildings he'd been photographing annually in Hale County.
- Bettye Fine Collins was appointed to the Birmingham Board of Education.
- Ralph Cook became an assistant district attorney in the Bessemer Division.
- Thomas Corts became president of Wingate College.
- Frank Moore Cross became director of the Harvard Semitic Museum.
- John Dedrick became a science teacher at Homewood High School.
- Michael Fazio became a founding member of Mississippi State's architecture faculty.
- Charles Ghigna became poet-in-residence for the Alabama School of Fine Arts.
- Joe Giattina retired as a vice-president of Liberty National Life Insurance Company.
- Rudy Goldschmidt became president of AIA Birmingham
- James Jones joined the Shelby County Sheriff's Office as a deputy.
- Jessie Mack became the Homewood Police Department's first African American officer.
- Roy Moore was discharged from the Army as a Captain.
- Johnny O'Neal moved to Birmingham.
- Henry Parsley became a priest.
- Sandy Posey had a Christian conversion experience.
- July 13: Joseph Raya resigned his archbishopric.
- Carole Robertson's remains were moved from Shadow Lawn Cemetery to Greenwood Cemetery.
- Jack Trotter became Walker County Sheriff.
- Virgil Trucks retired.
- Margaret Tutwiler was hired by First National Bank of Birmingham.
- January 31: Hiro Koda, professional stunt performer and coordinator
- March 25: Michelle Clemon, business executive
- April 1: Jerod Haase, UAB Blazers basketball coach
- April 18: Les Nuby, musician
- August 9: Michael Saab, entertainer
- August 10: Loretta Nall, marijuana legalization advocate
- August 12: Jon Vickers, attorney
- August 24: Aaron Martens, professional bass fisherman
- October 18: Michael Pickens, Hueytown city councilor
- December 27: Nate Bland, professional baseball player
- Travis Bryant, blogger and businessman
- Brent Hinds, musician
- Carma Jude, director of the Jefferson County Economic and Industrial Development Authority
- Craig Krawczyk, architect
- Chip Lindsey, high school football coach
- Chris MacNicol, Talladega Tire Man
- Jason Malone, brewmaster
- Lloyd Peeples, attorney
- Rumplesealskin, zoo sea lion
- Derric Rush, church media director
- Terrence West, high school basketball coach
- Alabama Business Hall of Fame: B. B. Comer (Avondale Mills), Thomas Martin (Alabama Power Company), Edward Roberts (Waterman Steamship Corporation), Benjamin Russell (Russell Mills), Mildred Westervelt Warner (Gulf States Paper Company), Frank Samford, Sr (Liberty National Life Insurance Company)
- Alabama Teacher of the Year: Eugenia Corina
- Miss Alabama: Pam Long
- Miss Samford: Nell Wilks Farrar
- Tuscaloosa County Citizen of the Year: Marvin Harper
- Otis Agee from Minor High School
- Emory Anthony from Alabama A&M University, bachelor's
- Leah Rawls Atkins earned the first Ph.D. in history granted by Auburn University
- William G. Barnes from George Washington University, associates
- Tommy Brigham from Emory and Henry College, bachelor of arts
- John L. Carroll from Cumberland School of Law
- Charles Cooper from the University of Alabama, bachelor's in business administration
- Hugh Cort from UAB, bachelor of arts in sociology
- Bill Elder from Baylor, Ph.D. in biblical studies
- Hank Erwin from Southwestern Bible College, bachelor of arts
- Jim Folsom, Jr from Jacksonville State University, bachelor's
- Mark Gaines from Vestavia Hills High School
- Billy Gamble from Samford University, master's in education
- Carol Garrison from the University of North Carolina, bachelor's
- Don Hawkins from Dallas Theological Seminary, Master of Theology
- Ron Ingram from the University of Alabama
- Bruce Irwin from UAB, M.D.
- Alan King from the University of Alabama, bachelor's in finance
- Jo Kittinger from Vestavia Hills High School
- Sammy Lee from Tuscaloosa High School
- Melvin Miller from Benedict College, bachelor of science in physical education
- Jim Parkman from the University of Alabama, bachelor of science in business administration
- Jim Porter from the Cumberland School of Law
- Stephen Rolfe Powell from Centre College, bachelor of arts in painting
- Douglas Ragland from Ensley High School
- Jeff Rutledge from Banks High School
- Wallace Sears from the University of Alabama, bachelor of arts in mass communications
- Richard Scrushy from UAB, respiratory therapy
- James Spann from Tuscaloosa High School
- Glennon Threatt from Indian Springs School.
- Eric Wieschaus from Yale, Ph.D. in biology
- Evan Zeiger, Jr from the University of Alabama, M.D.
- Gail Patrick married John E. Velde, Jr.
- May 31: Blanche Dean, naturalist, author and educator
- July 29: Bobby Duke, Jr, halfback and murder victim
- November 14: Johnny Mack Brown, college football player and actor
- November 25: Eddie Dent, professional baseball player
- Leo E. Bashinsky, industrialist, investor and civic leader
- Fred Buettiker, last surviving man who helped cast Vulcan
- Liston Corcoran, Birmingham city councilor
- See also: List of Birmingham homicides in 1974
In 1974 the crew of Skylab 4 completed a then-record 84 days in orbit. Charles de Gaulle Airport opened in Paris. OPEC ended their oil embargo. The Terracotta Army of Qin Shi Huang was discovered at Xi'an, China. India successfully detonated its first nuclear weapon. The first product was sold by scanning its Universal Product Code (UPC). President Richard Nixon resigned as a result of the Watergate scandal. The Rumble in the Jungle saw Muhammad Ali knock out George Foreman in 8 rounds to regain the Heavyweight title. A skeleton from the hominid species Australopithecus afarensis was discovered and named Lucy.
Notable births in 1974 included model Kate Moss, actor Christian Bale, actor Seth Green, singer James Blunt, acress Eva Mendes, singer Victoria Beckham, acress Penélope Cruz, singer Jewel, singer Alanis Morissette, baseball player Derek Jeter, basketball player Rasheed Wallace, comedian Jimmy Fallon, NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr, actor Leonardo DiCaprio, Mythbuster Kari Byron, and television and radio host Ryan Seacrest.
Notable deaths included movie mogul Samuel Goldwyn, comedian Bud Abbott, musician Duke Ellington, Chief Justice Earl Warren, aviator Charles Lindbergh, television host Ed Sullivan, U. N. Secretary-General U Thant, boxer James J. Braddock, and comedian Jack Benny.
Notable novels of 1974 included Stephen King's Carrie, Peter Benchley's Jaws, John le Carré's Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, and Madeleine L'Engle's A Wind in the Door. Non-fiction works included Carl Bernstein & Bob Woodward' All the President's Men, Vincent Bugliosi's Helter Skelter, and Piers Paul Read's Alive: The Story of the Andes Survivors.
Top box office hits included The Towering Inferno, Blazing Saddles, Young Frankenstein, and Earthquake. The Godfather, Part II took Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Director (Francis Ford Coppola), and Best Supporting Actor (Robert De Niro).
Albums released in 1974 included self-titled debut albums by Bad Company, Kansas, and Kiss, Court and Spark by Joni Mitchell, Good Times by Elvis Presley, and Walls and Bridges by John Lennon. The Grammy Award for Album of the Year went to Fulfillingness' First Finale by Stevie Wonder. Hit singles included Carl Douglas' "Kung Fu Fighting", Terry Jacks' "Seasons in the Sun", The Steve Miller Band's "The Joker", and George McCrae's "Rock Your Baby".
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