Red Mountain developed at steadfast pace. Pioneer industrialists such as Henry F. DeBardeleben, James W. Sloss, and T.T. Hillman ushered in an explosion of ore mining activity to support Birmingham blast furnace operations as they developed. Jones Valley’s first blast furnace, Alice, was partly supplied with iron ore from the Redding mines that will be an extensively developed part of Red Mountain Park. Iron ore flowed from the new mines over freshly laid rail of the Alabama Great Southern Railroad, and later via the Louisville & Nashville’s (L&N) Birmingham Mineral Railroad that first reached the Redding area in 1884.
A major change in Birmingham’s corporate landscape came in 1907, when United States Steel acquired Birmingham’s largest manufacturer, the Tennessee Coal, Iron & Railroad Company (TCI). After the arrival of U.S. Steel, boom times continued in Birmingham for another two decades. By 1920, the city alone boasted a population of nearly 180,000, making it the fourth-largest Southern city, behind New Orleans, Louisville and Atlanta.
Through various programs of Roosevelt’s New Deal, the federal government spent millions toward relieving the Depression’s effects in Birmingham throughout the 1930s. Significant relief did not come, however, until the onset of World War II created new demand for iron and steel.