Tuesday, December 6, 2011

History and Horror

I have to admit that I don't always make the best decisions (shhh. Don't tell my husband). However, I learn most lessons through my mistakes. It's why I'm so wise now.
I love watching the syfy channel during October. So many horror movies and shows galore! I happened upon one that focused on the haunted history of Sloss Furnaces. It mentioned that they were in Birmingham, AL. I thought- jackpot! I'll be there for Thanksgiving! I think it's a great time to introduce Life Lesson #1 (in reality, I'm probably on #940201549123). Lesson #1, Don't plan a trip based on a 'most haunted' episode (mom, stop laughing). I just cannot express the fear that sets in when you actually visit a place that has earned the title as 'most haunted'. Imagine four girls staying as close together as possible. For whatever reason, we think that the closer we are, the less that something scary will happen. Or maybe it's easier to trip someone if you're in closer proximity and need to run. Everywhere we walked, I had the thought, "I bet someone died there."

So, what's the big deal about Sloss Furnaces? This business is the reason for Birmingham becomming such a big city. Colonel James Withers Sloss made his way to Jones Valley in 1871 because of its richness in minerals. He was one of the founders of Birmingham. He started the construction of Sloss Furnaces in 1881, and it finally opened in 1882. It reportedly sold 24,000 tons of iron during its first year in business.
Yep, we walked in there. And it was super dark. Only one red light lit this tunnel. We walked on this chained walkway, so you could see below into this never ending abyss. The next four photos are from views inside the tunnel.
Now that I've set your heart in fear, ready for another thing I learned? Life Lesson #2, the good news is that I learned that when I get scared, I defend myself...physically. The bad news is that my cousin jumped out a dark room and scared the bejeezus out of me...and I kinda punched her just a little. It's not as bad as you think. She just had a small bruise. And I've apologized to her a LOT. I probably shouldn't have started it by scaring her first...
The photo above shows the bottom of one of the huge boilers. We all got to squat down and look into it. What made it even more fun was my cousin telling us how someone was pushed into this one (or one like it) on purpose.
The above photo had a great explanation on the boilers, but included a really creepy photo of a worker on the bottom. I bet he's an angry ghost. The first six boilers were put in place in 1910-11. The boilers acted as the main source of power to operate most of Sloss. 

The above photo shows a buried fire hydrant by Chapman Valve manufacturers, which began in 1854. 
It's time for life lesson #3! Never ever let a pregnant woman lead the walking line. During October, the place is open at nights for haunted tours. They do the typical jumping out of nowhere with chainsaws and screaming at you. However, the fine people at Sloss had not taken down all of their lovely Halloween decorations. As our pregnant cousin was the first to walk down a dark and creepy room, she was not prepared to see a gross skeleton chained to a pipe. In reality, is anyone ever prepared to see that? I'm really grateful that she didn't go into labor from being scared...
The next photo is one from that room. It was my least favorite area. Or maybe my favorite since it creeped me out the most. 
The photo above shows a closed room that I wanted to break into in the worst way. It looked like a storage room for tons of old materials that would've been great to get the history on. Unfortunately, I'm not a break-in kinda girl. 
This final view is the wonderful image we got while exiting. Some more awesome decorations that made us hightail it to our car.

I hoped you enjoyed our walk through Sloss! If you are ever in Birmingham and needing some of your own life lessons, then you should check it out. It's open and free to the public without a tour guide. 


  1. Your photos are great. Love the perspective in some of the shots.

  2. Very interesting! Love your photos!

  3. This is amazing! I LOVE these images! You should add some to your Etsy shop -- there's a great market for "industrial decor" right now, haha! :)

  4. so exciting to discover the history of a city and why it exists to this day.......great pictures

  5. Thanks so much, everyone! Really appreciated those comments. : )
    sammysgrammy, I agree! It's fun digging it all up too.
    Angels and Everlastings, it totally was! I was terrified of being locked in that place.


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