The year is 1880. Iron ore is being removed from the ground at a site called Redding. Four years before, in 1876, an experiment at the Oxmoor Furnace led to the opening of this mine. The experiment proved coke could be used for fuel iron ore furnaces (instead of charcoal) in order to make iron and this innovation allowed for a higher quality iron to be made. Thus, new coke-fired furnaces were built in Birmingham.
In 1879, Henry F. Debardebelen and Thomas T. Hillman formed the Alice Furnaces Company and began construction of a furnace in downtown Birmingham. In 1880, they opened two mines on Red Mountain to provide iron ore for the new venture. These mines were the Alice Mine and the Redding Mine (Mine No. 10). In 1886 the Alice Furnace Company was acquired by the Tennessee Coal Iron and Railroad Company and in 1902 (approximate), TCI changed the designation of all of their mines from names to numbers. With this change, the Redding Mine became known as Wenonah Number 10 mine.
Mine No. 10 operation stopped in 1956 after 76 years of successful operation. It played a major role in production for US Steel Corporation and in the lives of hundreds of individuals and families. Mine No. 10 and its contributions were very much a part of the history that helped bring the magic to the city we call Birmingham.
The mine currently viewable from the gate! Stay tuned in for more!
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