Delve into the industrial history of Alabama at this hulking factory ruin, where generations of workers once toiled.
Once the center of industry in the region and now a National Historic Landmark, Sloss Furnaces provide a fascinating insight into Alabama's metalworking past. Walk beneath stacks of chimneys, where smoke once billowed and stroll around mazes of corroded pipes in this rusting metal processing factory. The furnaces also double as a festival venue, running popular haunted tours and zombie events in the days before Halloween.
Sloss Furnaces were built during the development boom that followed the Civil War as entrepreneurs sought to exploit the natural resources of Jones Valley, including iron ore. The city of Birmingham was founded during this time, in 1871. Ten years later Colonel James Withers Sloss ordered that construction begin on the furnaces. Explore the sprawling site, using the free brochures to guide you around the various points of interest.
The oldest machines here are the early 20th-century steam-driven bellows, which were used to pump air into the furnaces. Find out how iron was melted and cast on an industrial scale and get a close-up view of the gigantic equipment in its original setting. Free guided tours take place on the weekends and are run by knowledgeable volunteers.
Look for examples of metal arts around the building. Sign up for metalworking workshops also held here. Check the museum's calendar for upcoming casting and sculpting lessons.
Scare yourself witless at Sloss Fright Furnaces, a series of events that take place during October prior to Halloween. Join nighttime tours and be on alert for the ghosts that are said to hang around this haunted site. Flee zombies in the high-tension zombie apocalypse-themed game and watch macabre acts on the ghoulish Stages of Death.
Listen to cool, contemporary music in a relaxed setting at Sloss Fest, an open-air arts and music festival in July. The main stage features both well-known headliners and up-and-coming artists.
Find Sloss Furnaces in Birmingham city center, about a 5-minute drive from the Amtrak station. On-site parking is available. The museum is open from Tuesdays through Sundays.