Less than 30 minutes from busy, downtown Birmingham, is a beautiful 1,500-acre park that delights outdoor enthusiasts and history buffs alike. Known as Tannehill Ironworks Historical State Park, this woodland park was created as a memorial to Alabama’s early iron industry. Here you’ll find a wonderful blend of nature and history. The Tannehill Ironworks is designated as a national metallurgical engineering landmark. The enormous stone blast furnace is a focal point of the park. The furnace is among the best preserved in the South, and it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and on the Civil War Discovery Trail. During the last two years of the Civil War, Alabama's furnaces produced 70% of the Confederate iron supply.
Learn about Tannehill Ironworks and the iron industry in the Alabama Iron and Steel Museum conveniently located in the park. The small admission fee is worth the cost. Among the many interesting displays, there are some unique items including rare CS artillery projectiles, one of the oldest steam engines in the country, and a Civil War 52 caliber U.S. Spencer Repeater.
Outside of the museum is a pavilion filled with additional historical iron industry equipment, and the park is home to over 45 historical buildings from the 1800s. Of the park’s seven rental cabins, six are rustic log cabins that were restored and moved to the park. Even some of the hiking trails are historical. The trails are 1 to 4 miles long, and most traverse wide, dirt roads, some following the original routes of ore miners and furnace workers. The park offers other outdoor recreation including fishing: Native fish including brim are abundant, and the two main creeks are stocked yearly with rainbow trout. Birding is popular, or search for the park’s rare plants, cahaba lilies.
With so much to see and do, plan to spend a night. Besides the cabins, there are 195 campsites with water and electricity, or choose one of the 100 primitive tent camping sites.
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