Railroads and Industry
Birmingham was founded on June 1, 1871 by real estate promoters who sold lots near the planned crossing of the Alabama & Chattanooga and South & North railroads. The site of the railroad crossing was notable for the nearby deposits of iron ore, coal, and limestone-the three principal raw materials used in making steel. Its founders adopted the name of England's principal industrial city to advertise the new city as a center of iron and steel production. Despite outbreaks of cholera, the population of 'Pittsburgh of the South' grew from 38,000 to 132,000 from 1900 to 1910, attracting rural white and black migrants from all over the region. Birmingham experienced such rapid growth that it was nicknamed "The Magic City." By the 1920s, Birmingham was the 19th largest city in the U.S and held more than 30% of the population of the state. Heavy industry and mining were the basis of the economy.
Chemical and structural constraints limited the quality of steel produced from Alabama’s iron and coal. These materials did, however, combine to make ideal foundry iron. Because of low transportation and labor costs, Birmingham quickly became the largest and cheapest foundry iron-producing area. By 1915 twenty-five percent of the nation’s foundry pig iron was produced in Birmingham.
Read more about this topic: History Of Alabama, Disfranchisement and Origins of New South, 1876-1914
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Famous quotes containing the words industry and/or railroads:
“Whatever I may be, I want to be elsewhere than on paper. My art and my industry have been employed in making myself good for something; my studies, in teaching me to do, not to write. I have put all my efforts into forming my life. That is my trade and my work.”
—Michel de Montaigne (15331592)
“Shall the railroads govern the country, or shall the people govern the railroads? Shall the interest of railroad kings be chiefly regarded, or shall the interest of the people be paramount?”
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