It was Sunday in Birmingham, Alabama. I thought traffic would not be bad, and it was okay except for a few minor spots. But then, I hate driving in bigger cities since I live in the country and Meridian, Mississippi is the most traffic that I usually have to drive through. Anyway, after we left Oak Mountain State Park we had to get back on the Freeway and into the crazy driving world. At one point someone didn’t see me and tried to merge even though they had an entire lane to stay in!! I was driving a white Dodge Mega Cab!!! What is not to see?? But, we survived, there were no accidents and we exited the freeway craziness.
As we got off on the exit it seemed like we entered another world entirely, this part of town was largely empty. There were old buildings and signs that people were around but actual people…we saw maybe 2 cars driving on our way to our destination. As we followed the twists and turns suggested by the truck’s GPS I began to wonder if the GPS had decided to get even with us for not listening to her earlier. All through Oak Mountain State Park she informed us that we needed to turn around and that we were entering a restricted area in what seemed to be ever increasingly urgent tones. However, she guided us to our destination and there, next to the crazy freeway, rising above the landscape around it stood Sloss Furnace looking just as imposing as it has since the early 1880’s. Sterling had been wanting to visit this place for some time now and we were finally here, if we could find the entrance that is.
After we turned around we found the gate to get in and drove up towards the welcome center.
I had read that there was a short film to watch so that you would understand the site better, but I guess since it was Sunday they weren’t showing the film. Admission is free and there is a jar for donations. The lady at the desk gave us a sort of book about Sloss and it was kind of falling apart when we got it. I wish I had it still, but I will tell you about where that went later. We asked her if we would be able to get on the water tower or anything and she informed us that there was ABSOLUTELY NO CLIMBING. Needless to say, Sterling was disappointed and so was I. That was probably the worst part of the whole trip. There were railings that looked like safety railings all the way to the top of some of the structures but the ways were blocked so we never got a bird’s eye view of this magnificent location. After that she told us where to go, and went back to watching whatever was on her computer. I have to say it must have been really engrossing, or we were just boring. Either way, I had to remind myself that it was Sunday and most people would not want to be at work.
So, off we went. She said to follow the wooden walkway. Well, we are not really followers. There were signs pointing which way to what part of the location, so we were good with that.
As we began walking toward the belly of Sloss furnace my mind wandered to the men who worked here 12 hours per day for little pay. Many lives were lost here, but this place helped to make Birmingham the city it is today. Of course most people know that the paranormal show Ghost Adventures did a lockdown here and the Travel Chanel has a pretty nice write up about Sloss.
I have to head for work, so I am going to leave you as Sterling and I are making our way toward the unknown. Thousands of tons of metal rise above us and surround us. History has closed in around us and we are having the time of our lives, even though we can’t climb on anything!!
Here is one more shot before I head off. Have a great day everyone and I promise more tomorrow!!