This guidebook of historic iron-production sites is designed to give the reader a factual and illuminating look at the people and events that shaped Birmingham into one of America's leading steel centers. Iron & Steel is heavily illustrated with both color and historical black-and-white photographs. It can be used while visiting parks or read as a coherent volume before or after a visit. The book contains chapters devoted to the larger preserved sites open to the public, such as Sloss Furnaces National Historic Landmark and Tannehill Ironworks Historical State Park. It also highlights lesser-known, yet still accessible, sites such as Blocton Coke Ovens Park. The work provides easy-to-follow maps for every site as well as driving directions to the more remote locations, giving visitors easy access to all the notable iron and steel sites in Jefferson, Shelby, Tuscaloosa, and Bibb counties. Each chapter also includes a variety of historical information, with accompanying photographs, in order to present the reader with a detailed and comprehensive account of the Birmingham Iron and Steel District. Featured sites include: Tannehill Ironworks Historical State Park; Shelby Ironworks Park; Billy Gould Coke Ovens Park; Brierfield Ironworks Historical State Park; Oxmoor Furnace Site; Irondale Furnace Park; Helena Rolling Mill Site; Red Mountain Park, Iron Ore Mines; Lewisburg Coke Ovens Park; Sloss Furnaces National Historic Landmark; Ruffner Mountain Nature Center; Blocton Coke Ovens Park; and Vulcan Park and Museum.
James R. Bennett is a former Alabama secretary of state and newspaperman. An original appointee to the Tannehill Furnace and Foundry Commission in 1969 and a former executive director of the Tannehill Foundation, he authored Old Tannehill: A History of the Pioneer Ironworks in Roupes Valley, 1829-1865 and Historic Birmingham. Karen R. Utz is Curator at the Sloss Furnaces National Historic Landmark; author of "Goin' North: The African American Women of Sloss Quarters" in Work, Family, and Faith: Southern Women in the 20th Century, edited by Melissa Walker and Rebecca Sharples; and editor of Man Food: Recipes from the Iron Trade.