In 1881 and 1882, North Alabama planter and investor James Withers Sloss built the furnaces which became known as the "City Furnaces." Extensively rebuilt and modernized in the late 1920s, the current steel-jacketed furnaces employed an estimated 500 workers and produced 400 tons of pig iron daily. Sloss-Sheffield Steel and Iron Company and U. S. Pipe operated these furnaces, maintaining their position as a leading foundry iron producer until 1971.
Now recognized as a National Historic Landmark, Sloss Furnaces with its web of pipes and tall smokestacks offers us a glimpse into the great industrial past of the South and our nation. Tours of the historic site feature the Apron of the Furnace, the Stock Trestle, and the Underground Railroad line.