Thursday, May 18, 2017

Sloss Furnaces

As a combined Christmas, birthday, and second anniversary gift, Mr. Handsome surprised me with a five-day trip to Santa Rosa Beach, Florida, which we took last week. It's less than seven hours from Nashville, but we did some sightseeing along the way, extending the trip to about 11 hours.

Our first stop was Sloss Furnaces in Birmingham, Alabama. Has anyone else been there?

Now a National Historic Landmark, Sloss Furnaces is a blast furnace that produced pig iron from 1882 to 1971. If you're like me, you're probably wondering why it was called pig iron. Well, the name came about when someone decided that the row of molds that the iron flowed into looked like suckling pigs.

Since the furnace is no longer operating, you can walk through the maze of massive smokestacks, dark tunnels, and rusted pipes and see how the pig iron was produced. The best part is that self-guided tours are free.

Touring Sloss Furnaces was like stepping back into the Industrial Age. I could picture workers covered in sweat and dirt, laboring hard to produce the iron that built the city of Birmingham. It was a muggy 90 degrees while we were there, so I can only imagine how difficult those jobs would have been in the heat of the summer, with the furnace running full blast.

I have to say, Sloss Furnaces is a pretty neat detour and unlike any tourist attraction I had ever seen. We weren't going to stop, but when we found out it was free, we just had to check it out. And we're glad we did!


  1. Anonymous5/18/2017

    Grew up where there was a steel mill. When it closed in the 80's, it was a real economic blow to the region. I'm old enough to remember when mills and factories like that were everywhere. This country used to make things, things that didn't need to be imported. Sigh.

    So the sight of that closed furnace saddens me. Birmingham steel. The process wasn't always pretty (those factories had their problems), but it was American made.

  2. Anonymous5/19/2017

    I think that off the beaten track tourist spots are the best!

  3. Anonymous5/19/2017

    Tasking lots of pictures and writing about it is a good plan cause you will want to get it out to enjoy again come Christmas, Birthday and 2nd anniversary. I guess that is how that will work. What other less industrial history pictures have you got? Any dinners out, swimming pools, spas, bouquets in fancy hotel rooms?

  4. Anonymous5/19/2017

    This isn't just getting an iron for your birthday this is getting the whole works!

  5. Anonymous5/23/2017

    I have family there, but had not heard about touring the iron works for free.

  6. Alicia Mae5/23/2017

    I love those spur of the moment, off the traditional tourist track sort of things. Looks like a really interesting place!