This residential area was carved from the Joseph Riley Smith plantation, a 600 acre antebellum farm, one of the largest in 19th century Jefferson County. Smithfield lies to the west of Birmingham's city center on the flat land & hills north of Village Creek & has the city's earliest & most substantial concentration of black, middle-class residences, small commercial enclaves & churches. The neighborhood illustrates the lifestyles of a wide spectrum of black Birmingham citizens in the early 20th century, & provides an exceptional view of the emergence of a black white-collar class in the city. Residential structures include a variety of industrial housing types, as well as examples of the fashionable styles built for community leaders
Dr. A. M. Brown, Prof. A. H. Parker & Rev. R. T. Brown, & the fine work of black architect Wallace A Rayfield & black contractor T. C. Windham. First lots were sold in 1882 & land formally subdivided in 1886 with streets & avenues named for the Smith family. Physician - planter - entrepreneur Smith deeded lots to family members who built homes on the ridge to the north, later known as College Hills.The Smithfield & Joseph Riley Smith Historic Districts were entered into the National Register of Historic Places in October of 1985.Erected May 18, 1986 by the Birmingham Historical Society & The Smithfield Community.