Sloss Furnace was begun in 1881 and still stands today. The heaviness of the history of the area we were walking into was almost like a curtain that we had to push aside. We looked around in amazement not quite knowing just where to start. Of course most of the areas that we were drawn to were cordoned off, but we could look at them. There were little nooks and crannies that called to us and we marked them for later exploration. We didn’t make it back to most of them, but we meant to.
Near these structures we found a closed gate and an open door, we of course chose the open door. Not knowing what lay beyond the threshold we stepped into the dark and into an entirely different world. This was a place where time had stopped. Cobwebs and rust may reign today, but it was all too easy to see the past taking place right in front of us. It was amazing.
The sun danced across the unused machinery and seemed to point at things worth noticing. Sterling and I weren’t sure where to begin, there were things to see all around us. There were stairs that led to a second level, but they were closed so we could only imagine what was up there. There were also sets of stairs that led to platforms where men must have stood to run the machinery, those were open and we did climb up there. In it’s heyday it must have been quite a sight to see. What I know is that I felt awe and amazement. This plant made Birmingham what it is today. This plant was responsible for the iron that was found in everything. It is amazing when you think about the fact that at one time this plant smelted over a thousand tons of pig iron per day.
Sterling and I took our time before moving on to other areas of the plant. Once we had explored this building fully, (or so we thought) we moved outside again to see some of the other structures. We would revisit this building, but we didn’t know it then.
So far, I have felt pretty small at Sloss Furnace. This place has reminded me that we are all just a small part of the grand scheme and also that we are all PART of the grand scheme. It has reminded me exactly what people can accomplish when they set their minds to the task at hand, or the dream they are dreaming. We can accomplish anything as long as we try.
That is a good thought to leave you on. I will see you again tomorrow.