The water tower that looms over downtown Birmingham, emblazoned with the word “SLOSS” and visible from all over the city, is synonymous with Birmingham and the rise and fall of the iron industry. During the turn of the 20th century, Birmingham became a boom town, as people from all over moved and settled here to meet the huge demand of labor needed to work in the furnaces that made steel, giving Birmingham its nickname, the Magic City. In 1970 the furnace closed, but the grounds remain a landmark to honor the industry that put Birmingham on the map, and as a memorial to the dozens of workers who lost their lives to such a dangerous trade. Sloss is not only on the National Registry of Historic Places, but is also considered one of the most haunted places in the entire country, which makes it the perfect backdrop to Sloss Fright Furnace every October, a Halloween tradition for locals. It also plays host to numerous festivals and concerts every year, so be sure to check the calendar of events on their website for the latest happenings.
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Strolling through a testament of the Industrial Revolution.
With its rusty smoke stacks reaching for the sky, Sloss Furnaces is one of the most recognizable land-marks of Birmingham. It’s more than just a city land-mark; it’s a testament to the Industrial Revolution that not only built the “Magic City,” but also American cities from coast-to-coast. It was furnaces like Sloss Furnaces that built the foundations of American might.
Operating between 1882 and 1971, Sloss Furnaces now serves as a museum of a major industrial site. In fact, the site is the only 20th century blast furnace operating as a museum. Walking through the underground tunnel, around the perimeter of boilers, or inside many of the forty buildings, visitors are free to touch, feel, and take in. Machines and tools are present throughout the complex, lending more perspective to the era of technology that America’s dominance prospered.
The site also serves as a venue for concerts and festivals.
Self-guided tours are free. Hours of operation are Tues-Sat 10a-4p and Sunday 12p-4p.