Shelby Iron Works

Shelby, Alabama



Rolling Mill

Posted: 03/24/2013  By: John Brasher

From Ethel Armes Book, The Story of Coal and Iron in Alabama:

” … Horace Ware had built at his furnace at Shelby a large rolling mill with a capacity of twelve tons of heavy and small-size finished bar iron. This was the first and parent rolling mill plant for Alabama. … On April 4, 1860, the mill engine was started and all the machinery properly adjusted, and on April 11th, 1860, this mill turned out Alabama’s first day’s product of finished bar iron, the beginning of an era in her history as an iron manufacturing state.”

Shelby’s rolling mill was destined to become Alabama’s major supplier of Confederate iron. The mill was destroyed on March 31, 1865 by troops of General Emory Upton’s Division of Wilson’s Cavalry Corps. It was never rebuilt.
In the Spring of 1994, Dr. Jack Bergstresser, Sr. PhD and a team of archeologists from PanAmerican Consultants, Inc. began a preliminary archeological investigation of a portion of the rolling mill. Joining in the dig were students of the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and members of the Historic Shelby Association.

The excavation was funded in part through a grant from the Alabama Historical Commission and partial matching funds by the Historic Shelby Association.
The photo above is the measured drawing of the portion of the rolling mill that was excavated.