Exploring some Alabama Coal History

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by DeBandi, Dec 16, 2007.

  1. DeBandi

    DeBandi Exploring Alabama

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    My investigations find that this old Praco mine was originally owned by the Pratt Consolidated Coal Company. Any historian of the Birmingham area knows that this company was one of the founding coal companies that fueled the hungry steel industry in Birmingham, located approximately 30 miles southeast of this location.

    This is one of several mining operations that developed along the old Cane Creek railroad branch. I originally posted information on this amazing old railroad line at http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=291913


    Unfortunately, 12 miners died in a terrible underground methane explosion at this location in early 1943.

    These fantastic concrete structures were constructed in late 1943. WWII was going strong and steel was hard, if not impossible, to acquire.

    [​IMG]




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    The storage silo & tipple in the distance. Coal was loaded at the tipple for transport on the old Cane Creek Branch.

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    Storage Silo standing tall.

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    Mining stopped at this location in the 1950’s, and prep operations halted in the 1960’s.


    Thanks Eric for helping supply information on this old fascinating site.
    #1
  2. mark1305

    mark1305 Old Enough To Know Better Supporter

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    Cool stuff, Dave. :thumb I love old historic things like that.

    Thanks!
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  3. varla

    varla le motard sinistre

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    lovely b/w pics. thanks for sharing.
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  4. mel brooks

    mel brooks Dirt Chick

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    Another excellend history lesson.

    Lots of cool old stuff to explore down your way...
    #4
  5. RicH2

    RicH2 Ric H2

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    Ahhh.....a man who probably knows a thing or two about the Sloth Furnace.
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  6. John 10:10

    John 10:10 Been here awhile

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    Great lesson, how about some history on the Drummonds and Cullman?
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  7. GB

    GB . Administrator Super Moderator Super Supporter

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    Looks good! thanks for posting :thumb
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  8. DeBandi

    DeBandi Exploring Alabama

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    The year was 1881. With “the promise of cheap coal from the Pratt mines,” Sloss established the Sloss Furnace Company and erected two blast furnaces and some coke ovens ten miles north of the city. In 1886, Sloss sold out to northern capitalist, and effected a consolidation capitalized at $3 million to create the Sloss Iron and Steel Company. During this reorganization, the company acquired its own captive convict mines at Coalburg severing its dependence on coal from Pratt/TCI.
    #8
  9. DeBandi

    DeBandi Exploring Alabama

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    Thanks John 10:10.

    I do not have much history on them.

    Drummond is still the largest surface mining company in Alabama.

    They have since closed most of the underground operations in Alabama. I think Shoal Creek is still operating. Drummond has moved most of its coal operations to Colombia.

    I know of four Drummond draglines still in existence.

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    Almost all of these old huge machines have been long since scrapped, but these four still loom over the earth they stripped.

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    Unfortunately, it is these very machines that have destroyed most of the old coal mine ruins and camps and all the history that goes with them.

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    Please do not try to visit these machines. They all have 24/7 security.
    #9
  10. Philip Kuntz

    Philip Kuntz Fleasy Rider Supporter

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    Nice, thanks for taking us along Dave. :clap
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  11. DeBandi

    DeBandi Exploring Alabama

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    Thanks Phill.

    Tell me you are not still on dial up:D

    Take care man & hope to see you and the flees soon.
    #11
  12. BlueLghtning

    BlueLghtning Riding is my passion

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    Another great report man! :clap
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  13. Boojum

    Boojum I Miss the PartyBoss

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    Ohhhh, come on Debandi,..........Show us some wheelies and dirt slinging, Man! :lol3 :lol3 Kidding Man! Nice B&W shots dude!
    When you coming up with David again?


    Boojum!
    #13
  14. DeBandi

    DeBandi Exploring Alabama

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    Thanks BlueLighting!

    Lets hook up soon!
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  15. DeBandi

    DeBandi Exploring Alabama

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    Thanks man.

    You guys like to play during the middle of the week!
    I can not do that.

    I hope to get up your way with Dave soon.
    Come see us buddy....
    #15
  16. Spicy McHaggis

    Spicy McHaggis Darth Peach's cracker...

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    Cool, I love historical old machines and places like these. Good job. I'm digging the black and white, too.
    #16
  17. WoovsHoovs

    WoovsHoovs RUN SILENT

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    Susan Drummond used to be hot, bout 20 years ago......:D
    #17
  18. DeBandi

    DeBandi Exploring Alabama

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    Thanks Spicy!

    I get the history bug every winter. I guess its because you can find & see so much in the woods this time of year.


    Alabama is full of old RR & mining history.

    I have several additional places I will be checking out in the next few weeks.

    Thanks for the kind response.
    #18
  19. nick_t

    nick_t Adventurer

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    bump for a nice RR in 'Bama.

    deBandi -- are you aware of the Red Mountain Park project? we're opening an 1100 acre park in the middle of Birmingham, highlighting the mining history and cultural impact it had on the community.

    www.redmountainpark.org

    did you use to work for the mines?

    all the best,
    nick
    #19
  20. DeBandi

    DeBandi Exploring Alabama

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    Yes, Nick, I am aware of the property that U.S. Steel donated.

    This will be a fantastic addition to the Birmingham culture.

    Regarding your question, no, I have never worked in the mines, and I am thankful everyday that I do not have to work the mines to provide for my family. I grew up in Kentucky and have an appreciation for the terrible conditions the miner goes through.

    It is the history and the stories of the mines and the railroads that intrigue me.

    My goal is to experience as many of these places as I can before they are gone forever.

    Thanks for the bump.
    #20