Along the Way: Bessemer, Alabama

| 6/27/2016 11:37:00 AM

Marilyn JonesIn search of railroad information for a magazine article, I stopped at a passenger depot in Bessemer, Alabama, just outside Birmingham. Today the depot serves the community as The Bessemer Hall of History and, although I found very little train history, what I did find was an excellent local collection pointing to the wonderful history of this city of 30,000.


The former Alabama Great Southern Railroad depot was built in 1916 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It served passengers until the early 1970s. It reopened as a museum in 1985.


Bessemer History

The little museum has a lot to tell its visitors.

The city was founded in 1887 by Henry F. Debardeleben. A pioneer industrialist, he came to Birmingham and soon had acquired a controlling interest in the Red Mountain Iron and Coal Company. As general manager, he proposed to buy a site 13 miles to the southwest of Birmingham to build eight furnaces and to add two additional railroad outlets to the city within two years.