Tannehill Ironworks Historical State Park

This has to be one of our more unique campground choices.

Tannehill Ironworks Historical State Park has more than 1,500 acres in three counties set aside for hiking, camping and outdoor recreation. A miniature railroad chugs through the pines. From spring through fall, the blacksmith, miller and craftsmen demonstrate their trades. Craft shops occupy restored pioneer cabins and artisans chat with visitors from their front porches. Steeped in history, Tannehill feels timeless. The cotton gin, pioneer farm and working gristmill preserve a long-gone way of life. Hiking trails retrace historic roadways. Artifacts of Alabama’s 19th century iron industry displayed in the Iron and Steel Museum put in perspective the massive stone furnaces, Tannehill’s awe-inspiring centerpiece.
After doing much needed laundry, we headed out for an evening exploration.

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Tannehill was a major supplier of iron for Confederate supplies. Ironmaking at the site began with construction of a bloomery forge in 1830. Then this amazing structure was built by noted southern ironmaster Moses Stroup from 1859 to 1862. The three charcoal blast furnaces at Tannehill could produce 22 tons of pig iron a day (that is a huge amount). The ironworks gave birth to the Birmingham Iron & Steel District.

The Tannehill furnaces, known as Roupes Valley Ironworks, were attacked and destroyed by three companies of Union Soldiers in 1865. The reconstructed ruins remain today as one of the best preserved 19th-century iron furnace sites in the South.

This morning we awoke to continue our history lesson at the Iron & Steel Museum of Alabama, located right in our campground.

The museum is an interpretive center on 19th century iron making technology and features belt driven machines, tools and products of the times. It has numerous exhibits relating to the production of iron and steel during the American Civil War when Alabama once had 13 different iron companies and six rolling mills producing some 70% of the Confederate iron supply. There is a lot of history here, presented in exhibits that I actually understood.

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Karen Booth said...

Was that cabin really half green and half purple???

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