The Sloss Furnaces are one of the most historic sites in the area, as they date back to the year 1881.
However, they are not only historic, but they were also award winning.
In the year 1883 they won the bronze medal at the Southern Exposition that was held in the in Louisville, Kentucky, for its overall production.
Located at number 20 32nd Street in Birmingham Alabama, it is just off of old Highway 280, making it one of the easiest of the Birmingham day trips to get to.
Closed in the early 1970’s, these massive furnaces operated as pig iron blast furnaces from 1882 until 1971.
They are now in the National Historic Landmark of Birmingham.
Right after they closed in 1971, they became one of first industrial sites to actually be preserved as well as restored for the public.
However, they hold one other very neat distinction; they were the only blast furnaces to ever get this nomination.
In the year 1981, they were designated a National Historical Landmark by the United Sates Department of Interior, also a rare award for what they were.
They also currently serve as an interactive museum of industry, as well as hosts for the nationally recognized metal arts program.
The Sloss Furnaces were created by James Withers Sloss who was one of the original founders of Birmingham.
He also helped to promote the development of the railroad, as we as the Pratt Coke and Coal Company.
This was one of the first new manufactures in the area, and in 1881 he formed his own company, The Sloss Furnace Company.
The first furnace was built on 50 acres of land and that was donated by the Elyton Land Company.
Once built, the two Whitwell-type furnaces were over 60 feet tall and 18 feet in diameter. If you were to stand next to one, you could see just how massive they were.
They proved to be extremely productive as they produced 24,000 tons of high-quality iron during the first year of operation.
In the year 1866, the Sloss Furnaces were sold as Mr. Sloss retired.
A group of investors bought the company and reorganized it in 1899, and it became known as the Sloss-Sheffield Stella and Iron Company.
However, there was something that this group did that bothered several of the competitors at the time; the used forced labor African American convict-laborers.
These laborers were purchased in collusion with the local sheriffs in a system that was referred to as “peonage”.
This is how it worked.
The local sheriffs would arrest primarily African American’s under made up charges of “vagrancy”, and then the Sloss Company would purchase them as slaves.
This is how the Sloss family primarily made their fortune, as this process was allowed to continue even after the civil war.
New blowers were installed in the Sloss Furnaces in 1902, and some new boilers were added in 1906 and again in 1909.
Between the years1927 and 1929 the furnaces were completely rebuilt with all new equipment.
In 1952 the Sloss Furnaces were taken over by the U.S. Pipe and Foundry Company, and then sold 17 years later in 1969, to the Jim Walter Corporation.
The city of Birmingham suffered from serious air pollution in the 1950’s and 1960’s, due to the iron and steel industry.
Two years after they were purchased, in 1971, the Jim Walter Corp. closed the furnaces because of the US Clean Air Act.
The way the Sloss Furnaces are set up now, when you visit, you can literally walk through the remains of the actual furnaces.
The grounds are also used for all kinds of civic and private events including the following.
However, perhaps the Sloss Furnaces most popular attraction is in the fall, when it leases to an outside company for a Halloween haunted house and attraction.
The grounds themselves have been rumored to be haunted for several years, so this venue is a perfect fit.
But that it not all there is with the haunting rumors, as it also holds Historic Night Tours, to show the darker side of the attraction.
The Sloss Furnaces are one of the most popular of all of the Birmingham day trips, because of the rumors of being haunted.
Alabama Gift Store
Numerous Items for You and Your Family to Enjoy
See it here at the Gift Store
Copyright 2019-2023 Alabamabackroads.com
All Rights Reserved