Colonel James Withers Sloss, one of Birmingham's founders, became involved in railroads during the 1850's. In 1871 he contracted to complete the 67 mile L & N line which transformed Birmingham. The Sloss Furnace Company was founded in 1880; the large blast furnace completed about two years later. The furnace was modernized several times over the next hundred and remained in operation until 1971 when it was finally closed. No longer used as a factory, the furnace today is the only publicly held industrial site in the world and only blast furnace in the US to be preserved. It is currently used as an interpretive museum.

Constructed, 1882