It was in 1871 southern entrepenuers, following the Civil War, founded the city of Birmingham after discovering the rich mineral deposits in the area. A key founder and city leader was Col. James Withers Sloss. Col. Sloss realized what was in front of him quickly and in 1881 build Sloss furnace to soon become a leader in the production of pig iron in the world.
Production quickly began to pick up as soon as doors were opened for business. With WWI & WWII demand for iron increased and was good for Sloss well into the 30's and 40's. It wasn't until '71 that the furnaces were shut down. Primarily due to new EPA standards and improvements in technology that no longer required pig iron in such mass numbers as once before.
In 1981 Sloss Furnace received National Historical Landmark designation and opened as a museum in the city of Birmingham in '83.