In June and July, more than 300 people answered survey questions about Birmingham and its history for our game show, Can You Repeat That? We covered the top five answers at the show. Here, week by week, we will publish the results of the other questions.
- It seems common knowledge, at least among our respondants, that 1873 was the year of the great cholera epidemic. Out of 274 answers, 117 correctly named cholera, followed by Fire (10), unspecified Disease (9), and Yellow Fever (8) as top answers.
Although half the city's residents did flee, according to reports, the total population was only 2,500 in that second year after the founding, when Birmingham had not yet attained its "magic" growth. Fire, and infectious diseases such as typhus, smallpox, scarlet fever and tuberculosis were all epidemic in Birmingham's early years due to poor sanitation and other failures in public health and safety. The cholera epidemic also gave rise to the legendary aid brought to cholera sufferers by Birmingham's famed "Madame," Lou Wooster.
However, Yellow Fever, originating in the West Indies, primarily impacted the port city of Mobile.