Walk Historic Red Ore Express - TravelStorys

Walk Historic Red Ore Express

Sponsored by Birmingham Industrial Heritage Trail

  • Location: Alabama
  • Travel Type: Walking/Cycling
  • Trip Time: 1 hour
  • Language:

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The Historic Red Ore Express tells the story of Birmingham, Alabama. Birmingham was founded in 1871 and quickly grew to become one of the country's largest producers of iron and steel. Ensley Works, U.S. Steel, Tannehill, and the famous Sloss Furnaces made Birmingham a center of industry in the American South. The industry artifacts are all around Birmingham today — in old factories, mines, mills, and machinery.

This tour allows for local and out-of-state visitors to learn about these historic industrial sites as they walk or bike along the tour route or listen from the comfort of their own home.

An essential part of the industrial history of Birmingham is how its mosaic of power stations—Sloss, ACIPCO, Republic, Tennessee Coal, and Iron—became a unified electrical grid. The tour touches on these historical sites, the people who worked at them, and how they are used today, including the only 20th-century blast furnace in the nation preserved as an industrial museum.

The tour takes you through the Five Points Circle neighborhood and its architectural gems in the art deco, Italianate, and Spanish Colonial styles. You will hear stories of controversy and celebration from this "town within a town."

Oral histories about the Avondale downtown recall how it went from a quiet tree-lined avenue to a microbrewery hotspot!

The tour stops at what is nick-named the "Heaviest Corner on Earth" with Birmingham's four prominent skyscrapers: the Woodward, John Hand, Brown-Marx, and Empire Buildings.

At the northern slope of Red Mountain, the tour tells the mining history of the Kiwanis Vulcan Trail, which today is part of a new pedestrian trail system connecting Vulcan Park to Red Mountain Park

Red Mountain Park, the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and Five Points South. Speaking of Vulcan, the Director of the Birmingham Museum of Art illuminates the reasoning behind the Volcan symbol and its connection to the city's industrial past.

The tour includes stories from the University of Alabama's beginnings in the Great Depression to being a tier-one research institution today.

This tour weaves together stories, music, and historical photographs as it guides you through the city's industrial history. When you take this tour, you'll hear not only about places and processes but also about the people who built Birmingham—the workers and entrepreneurs, artists and educators, reformers and civil rights leaders, migrants and immigrants who made the dream of Birmingham a reality.

Tour Sponsors
The Historic Red Ore Express is made possible by the National Endowment for the Humanities, The Daniel Foundation, the Alabama Bicentennial Commission, the Greater Birmingham Convention & Visitors Bureau, the Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham, the Goodrich Foundation, the Alabama Humanities Foundation, the Alabama State Council on the Arts, Alabama State Senator Linda Coleman Madison and State Representative Roderick “Rod” Scott. 

Find More Tours Near You
While visiting Birmingham, enjoy Red Mountain Park audio tour. In addition, you can find other tours in Alabama or wherever your travels may take you at TravelStorys.com TravelStorys.com. Every place has a story.

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Tour Excerpts

About This Tour

Race at Sloss Houston Williams

The Heaviest Corner