Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Heading East

Brian and Rebekah are getting married May 28th in Severna Park, MD………We can hardly wait!

Since we were heading to the east coast for their wedding, we had decided to take the opportunity after the ‘festivities, and head on up along the coast of Maine and into Nova Scotia.   (Ok- so we really LIKE road trips!)   : )      After a good bit of preparation, including finishing some projects at the cabin which had been nagging at us, we loaded up and headed out.

We spent last night at Tannehill Iron Works Historical State Park, just east of Birmingham, Alabama. The campground was not much to look at and a bit crowded, but  the collection of old log buildings and the restored iron works were fascinating.



We started our visit with a tour of the Iron and Steel Museum, where we learned how iron was made. The Birmingham/Tannehill area is the only area in the world where the 3 key compounds used in making iron – Iron ore, coal, limestone- are found in such close proximity to each other. They are combined in a big furnace, getting the high heat necessary for the reaction by the injection of air using a big bellows



Tannehill  furnace no.1 , the building on the left, was built in 1859. Iron ore, limestone and coal were loaded in the furnace from the top, by way of the bridge.



The building in the foreground has a water wheel that is turned by the stream that powers the blower to superheat the furnace.


Then, the molten iron is poured into molds or formed using a forge and hammer into all kinds of tools, pipes, rods, artillery shells, large pots and vessels, and all kinds of things…….


Including cast iron skillets and pots and griddles.


The Tannehill Iron works included 3 furnaces and was at its peak of production during the Civil War, turning out 22 tons of iron a day. Then in March of 1865, it was destroyed – burned to the ground by the Union army.

In the 1970’s a restoration was undertaken, and in 1976, after sitting idol for more than 100 years, the no. 1 furnace was relit and put into blast. Iron ore was produced which was fashioned into a cannon to commemorate the 200th anniversary of our country.