30 Things I Didn’t Know about Birmingham
I am sharing interesting tidbits I’ve recently learned about Birmingham and some of her people. These items may be new to you as well or just a reminder.
Long before Birmingham was established in 1871, Native Americans around these parts referred to Red Mountain by the aptly descriptive name of “The Long Hill of the Dyed Rock.” They and white settlers used the reddish rocks (iron ore) to dye fabrics. According to “True Tales of Birmingham,” in the 1800s, “a few bars of iron were priceless and several area blacksmiths tried, without success, to forge iron from the mountain’s rich supply of reddish ore.”
Enter Baylis Earle Grace, who, as a 12 year-old, came to Jefferson County in 1820 with his parents. As a grown man, he purchased a farm in the Oxmoor Valley. In the 1850s, Grace gathered a wagon load of iron ore from his land and drove it to a puddling furnace in Bibb County where the ore was turned into iron bars. Legend has it that Grace always kept one of the bars on his desk as a reminder of his feat.