Walkabout Shelby

My son and I along with my 82 year old mother went walkabout, through the old iron works of Shelby Alabama.  Not a lot to see but a lot of history there. It was interesting listening to my mom talk about the things that happened during her life growing up in Shelby and each thing we saw led to another recollection from her.

DSC_4538 (Custom)This was the starting point of this particular little jaunt. The Shelby Iron Works park, located on County Road 42 in Shelby Alabama.

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Right across the dirt road from the iron works park is the old hotel. It was the first building in Shelby county to have both running water and electricity.
The big wigs with the iron works would come in by train (the depot was about 50 yards away) stay at the hotel, take care of their business and then hop on the next train heading back to where they belonged. The hotel had a large dining hall about 26 rooms and a kitchen that did not close when it was fully staffed. The original was burned down  during the war of Northern aggression and this one was built in 1900.

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Just behind the old hotel sat the old post office. When the mail came in on the train it went straight to here.
The post office was not just a place to get mail, you got news, found out about jobs and took care of a lot of business transactions (buying or selling moonshine whiskey).


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There is a ditch that runs right in front of the post office and alongside the old hotel that handles the over flow from the well house.

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The well house, covered an artesian well that produced water for the hotel as well as the surrounding area and a lot of people from Shelby would walk down and carry jugs of water back home. The water used to be very pure, clean and cold but it has not been tested lately.

We wondered from here across county road 42 to the old chemical plant. This was where they made coke (charged carbon) for the iron works in order to make steel.

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It is a concrete skeleton now and was the home for several pine cone, acorn and bottle rocket battles from my childhood. There are some old tunnels that I have no idea what they were used for that runs from the plant into the woods toward the other ruins.

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A tunnel that has been mostly filled in over the years. We used to crawl through these things checking them out and seeing where they went. That was before my friend Donnie came up missing in one and has not been seen from since. Just kidding, he found bats in one and we didn’t feel like crawling through a foot of bat crap. Knowing what I know now, thank the good Lord we didn’t.

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I’m not sure what the structure above is or was used for, I think its just cool as heck.



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More of the old brickwork and foundations from the area around the chemical plant.

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Some scraps stuff from the iron works. A partial brick, the porous rock above is slag from the iron and the green and black rocks are some type of glass slag. Pretty much man made obsidian. I do know one thing about those green and black rocks, they are hard to do anything with and the shards off them will cut you like a razor.

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Further out into the woods there is another skeleton of a building which was also used by us kids for bottlerocket fights.

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Further along you will find clear pond, which is one of several large ponds created during the mining of iron ore. There are some very large fish in this pond. It’s called clear pond simply because the water is very clear you used to be able to see several feet down when you were out in a boat. Did I mention there are some very large fish.

Maybe one day we can walk back out there and see more things but for now this concludes my Shelby Iron Works walkabout.

Thanks for visiting Light Outdoors.


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