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Tannehill Ironworks

The Tannehill Ironworks is the central feature of Tannehill Ironworks Historical State Park near the unincorporated town of McCalla in Tuscaloosa County, Alabama.[1] Listed on the National Register of Historic Places as Tannehill Furnace, it was a major supplier of iron for Confederate ordnance.[2] Remains of the old furnaces are located 12 miles (19 km) south of Bessemer off Interstate 59/Interstate 20 near the southern end of the Appalachian Mountains. The 2,063-acre (835 ha) park includes: the John Wesley Hall Grist Mill; the May Plantation Cotton Gin House; and the Iron & Steel Museum of Alabama.[1]

Tannehill Furnace
Tannehill Furnace 2007.jpg
Tannehill Ironworks is located in Alabama
Tannehill Ironworks
LocationTuscaloosa County, Alabama, USA
Coordinates33°14′52″N 87°4′4″W / 33.24778°N 87.06778°W / 33.24778; -87.06778Coordinates: 33°14′52″N 87°4′4″W / 33.24778°N 87.06778°W / 33.24778; -87.06778
Area2,063 acres (835 ha)
Built byHillman, Daniel
WebsiteTannehill Ironworks Historical State Park
NRHP reference #72000182
Added to NRHPJuly 24, 1972


John Wesley Hall Grist Mill

Ironmaking at the site began with construction of a bloomery forge by Daniel Hillman Sr. in 1830.[3] 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, most of which was shipped to the Naval Gun Works and Arsenal at Selma. Furnaces Nos. 2 and 3 were equipped with hot blast stoves and a steam engine. Brown iron ore mines were present two miles (3 km) distant.[4]

The Tannehill furnaces and its adjacent foundry, where kettles and hollow-ware were cast for southern troops, were attacked and burnt by three companies of the U.S. 8th Iowa Cavalry on March 31, 1865 during Wilson's Raid. The ruins remain today as one of the best preserved 19th-century iron furnace sites in the South.[5]

Also known as the Roupes Valley Iron Company, these works had significant influence on the later development of the Birmingham iron and steel industry. An experiment conducted at Tannehill in 1862 proved red iron ore could successfully be used in Alabama blast furnaces. The test, promoted by South & North Railroad developers, led to the location of government-financed ironworks in the immediate Birmingham area (Jefferson County).[6]


The furnace remains and its reconstructed portions were named an American Society for Metals historical landmark in 1994.[7] The park is a designated Civil War Discovery Trail site,[8] a stop on the Alabama Appalachian Highlands Birding Trail,[9] and was listed among the top 10 Alabama parks and nature areas visited in 2016.[10]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b "Tannehill Ironworks Historical State Park". Alabama Historic Ironworks Commission. Retrieved January 28, 2016.
  2. ^ Summersell and Floyd (June 5, 1972). "Tannehill Furnace". National Register of Historic Places Inventory Nomination Form. National Park Service. Retrieved February 8, 2017.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  3. ^ "Tannehill Furnaces". Alabama Ironworks Source Book. Alabama Historic Ironworks Commission. Retrieved January 28, 2016.
  4. ^ Armes, Ethel (2011). The Story of Coal and Iron in Alabama. Library Alabama Classics. University Alabama Press. p. 158. ISBN 0817356827.
  5. ^ Bennett, James R. (1999). Tannehill and the Growth of the Alabama Iron Industry. Alabama Historic Ironworks Commission. pp. 152–154. ISBN 0967445507.
  6. ^ Bennett, pp. 95-96.
  7. ^ "ASM Historical Landmarks". ASM International. Retrieved January 28, 2016.
  8. ^ "Tannehill Ironworks Historical State Park". Civil War Discovery Trail. Civil War Trust. Retrieved January 28, 2016.
  9. ^ "Tannehill State Historical Park". Alabama Birding Trails. University of Alabama Center for Economic Development. Retrieved February 8, 2017.
  10. ^ Alabama Tourism Department (February 3, 2017). "Top 10 Parks and Natural Destinations 2016" (Press release). Retrieved February 8, 2017.

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