The history of Sloss Furnaces is the history of Birmingham and the industrial age. It is the stories of the people that worked here. Sloss escaped destruction after 90 years of operation when the iron stopped pouring in 1971, saved by dedicated residents and a major investment by the City of Birmingham. Sloss Furnaces opened as a national historic landmark in 1981 and continues to be a place of learning, art and entertainment that draws people from around the world.
Explore the site on your own! Our free self-guided tour brochure explains the process, while informative signs throughout the site expand on our fascinating story.
Sloss Furnaces offers guided tours to individuals or groups by appointment only. Tours can be scheduled Tuesday - Saturday at 10:30am or 2:00pm.
Students from throughout Alabama tour Sloss Furnaces each year to learn our unique role in the history of industry and culture. More information is provided below.
When the lights are turned off, the tour begins! Stay together - Sloss can be a little scary at night! On these special night tours, a docent leads participants through the site.
Sloss is currently one of the only twentieth century blast furnace in the United States being preserved and interpreted as an historic industrial site. The dramatic scale and complexity of the plant’s industrial structure, machines and tools make the Sloss collection a unique contribution to the interpretation of twentieth-century ironmaking. More than 15,000 people just drop by to learn about this extraordinary site and one-third of them make the journal from other countries. A self-guided tour of Sloss is free and we are open between 10:00 and 4:00 on Tuesday through Saturday.
A new generation of visitors have discovered Sloss. The people and organizations that host these events have discovered us as well. When an Atlanta event promoter decided to hold a festival in Birmingham for the first time, they chose Sloss Furnaces because its geographic center in the metropolitan area draws people from every part of our community. Few sites bring together such an exciting, diverse, vibrant group of people to experience all that is offered at Sloss.
In additional to the many educational opportunities, nearly 50,000 guests are inspired and entertained at one of the many events, festivals, concerts, weddings, quinceañeras, or just to watch nearly 5,000 trains that pass by our historic site. Thousands more join us for school trips, classes through our Metal Arts program, special exhibitions, or corporate events. Sloss is the backdrop for some of the most unique activities you will ever experience!
Few people know that Sloss Furnaces maintains an extensive collection of books, ledgers, art, corporate currencies, letters, patterns and engineering devices. Universities and authors are frequent visitors to a large collection of materials typically not available to the public. Some collections are exhibited at our Visitors Center but the vast majority are carefully maintained in our Research Library. Sloss also has opportunities to collaborate with other institutions like the Birmingham Museum of Art and the University of Alabama at Birmingham which maintain our collection of audio and video recording of the people that lived and worked here.
Education is key to our mission as a national historic landmark. Sloss Furnaces offers school tours, individual and group classes, and summer apprenticeships that foster a deeper appreciation of metal casting and fabrication, as well as a better understanding of our industrial legacy.
About half of our schools take a hands-on approach and work with our Metal Arts team to design their own tiles, watch them being cast in molten iron, and bring home a treasured reminder of the industry that built Birmingham.
We also have guides that can make a presentation for your class, or provide you with materials so that you can create a program that is unique to your own curriculum. Contact us for information on school tours and iron pours for your school.
Sloss Furnaces couldn't serve our community without the help of dedicated volunteers who give tours, maintain equipment, supporting events, and a wide variety of administrative in a rewarding experience and a great way to give back to others. The following link will provide more information on current volunteer opportunities.