Underground Birmingham: Images from Birmingham’s Iron Ore Mines takes the reader on a pictorial journey deep into the cold, dark and long abandoned mining tunnels that are now buried and hiding along the ridge of Birmingham’s Red Mountain.
Red Mountain iron ore is in the Clinton Formation, a geologic formation that runs from New York down into Alabama to the southern terminus of the Appalachian Mountains. The Birmingham iron ore mining district stretched 33 miles, extending from Trussville to Bessemer. The sixty-plus mines that operated here ranged from open-cut mines and drift mines to slope and shaft mines.
It was from these mine excavations that the red hematite iron ore was obtained, which drove 100 years of iron production in the “Magic City” of the South. Through these images, the viewer will see the rooms and passages where miners of all backgrounds spent much of their lives literally carving out a living for their families and to make their city successful.
Join in on this photo tour to see where these people worked and some of the things they left behind.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR(S)
Jeff E. Newman, a lifelong resident of Birmingham, began researching and exploring the iron ore mining history of Birmingham at age thirteen. He grew up on Red Mountain and made his first ore mine exploration in 1965. For the last fifty years, has read local history, studied maps, and done extensive fieldwork. Using his knowledge, he has located the ore mines in the Birmingham District and photographed many of them to share this important part of Birmingham’s past with future generations.
Josh Box, an urban explorer and Birmingham native, began his journey documenting abandoned mines in 2003. His goal is to showcase the history and share the beauty of an industry that built an entire city from the underground up. With the support of his wife, April, and three children, Hayden, Kian, and Evan, he traverses these dangerous chambers to give people a glimpse of what most have never seen.