JAN. 26- Less than a month after coaching his last game, legendary Alabama Coach Paul “Bear” Bryant died at the age of 69 on this day in 1983.
Birmingham native Condoleezza Rice became the first African-American woman to serve as Secretary of State when the U.S. Senate confirmed her nomination on this day in 2005.
JAN. 27 — The original 13-story Tutwiler Hotel, built in 1914, was imploded on this day in 1974 to make way for the office tower now known as the Viva Health building. The hotel hosted President Harding and Charles Lindbergh and many other notable figures of its day.
JAN. 28 — Brother Bryan, the well-loved pastor of Third Presbyterian Church who ministered to Birmingham’s sick and hungry, died at the age of 77 on this day in 1941.
JAN. 29 — An explosion at the Mossboro mine near Helena killed 27 miners on this day in 1926. “Miners brought out alive told grave stories of a sudden roar, a flash of fire — of men screaming and dying at their side. One man told of seeing his brother killed in the same entry in which he was working while others told of friends with whom they had worked and played for years being horribly burned and killed in the flash of flames,” The Associated Press reported.
JAN. 30 — Construction of Woodlawn High School was completed on this day in 1922.
Harry “The Human Fly” Gardiner, a daredevil famous for climbing 700 buildings across North America and Europe, climbed the 16-story Empire Building, one of four skyscrapers that make up the Heaviest Corner on Earth, on this day in 1917.
JAN. 31 — Susie, an elephant that had been on display at The Birmingham Zoo since 1957, died on this day in 2005.
Tallulah Bankhead, star of the stage and screen, was born in Huntsville on this day in 1902.
FEB. 1 — East Alabama Male College, later known as Auburn University, was chartered by the state legislature on this day in 1856. The charter overrode a veto by Gov. John Winston and the college opened its doors three years later with 80 undergrads taught by 10 faculty members.
Nancy Crews, an aviator who received a pilot’s license in 1939 and flew stateside missions in World War II as one of the original 28 members of the Women’s Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron, was born in Birmingham on this day in 1920.
East Lake Methodist Church’s Burchfiel Chimes were dedicated on this day in 1948. At first, the bells chimed prayers for world peace each morning and on weekend evenings at twilight. Special performances of Brahms’ “Lullabye” were played to announce births in the neighborhood.
The week in Birmingham history is a collaborative effort of AL.com and bhamwiki.