When cotton was king and Jackson was president, Daniel Hillman built a bloomery forge on Roupes Creek near the Jefferson and Tuscaloosa County line. As the birthplace of the Birmingham Iron and Steel District, the forge grew into an important battery of three blast furnaces capable of producing 22 tons of iron daily for Confederate munitions. The Tannehill Furnacesthe handiwork of Moses Stroup, one of the South’s leading ironmastersare among the best preserved 19th-century ironworks in America. Along with the Iron and Steel Museum of Alabama, the furnace ruins form the centerpiece of Tannehill Ironworks Historical State Park, which attracts 400,000 visitors annually. It is Alabama’s most visited Civil War site.
About the Author
Author James R. Bennett, former Alabama secretary of state, is one of Alabama’s leading industrial historians and currently serves as commissioner of the Alabama Department of Labor. A former reporter for the Birmingham Post-Herald, he has written or coauthored half a dozen books on the iron and steel industry, including Tannehill and the Growth of the Alabama Iron Industry and Historic Birmingham and Jefferson County, an Illustrated History. He also serves as chairman of the board of trustees at Jacksonville State University.
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