The Iron & Steel Museum of Alabama is a southeastern regional interpretive center on 19th century iron making technology featuring both belt driven machines of the 1800s and tools and products of the times. It focuses on the Roupes Valley Ironworks at Tannehill which operated nearby, first as a bloomery beginning in 1830 and later as an important battery of charcoal blast furnaces during the Civil War. The ironworks gave birth to the Birmingham Iron & Steel District. Museum hours are Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m.– 4:30 p.m. Saturdays from 9 a.m.– 4:30 p.m. and Sundays 12:30 p.m.– 4:30 p.m. Admission $2 adults, $1 children.
The Sweet Shoppe (Bagley House), built across the parking lot in front of the restaurant, is a favorite for young and old alike. Here might be found a wide assortment of cookies, cakes, candies and ice cream. Leased to a private operator, it is a “must see” park attraction. The old Bagley House, built in Jefferson County in 1856, was the home place of a Confederate soldier, John Bagley, who is buried at Chattanooga National Military Cemetery. For more information about the Tannehill Sweet Shoppe call 205-477-9168
The Pioneer Farm, located alongside Mill Creek near Farley Field, is a collection of 19th and 20th Century farm buildings and the site of the park’s working blacksmith shop. A number of the structures are from the George Stewart Farm which was located near Maplesville in Chilton County. It was also designed to house a number of early day farm implements donated by Dr. H. C. Springer of Bessemer. The site also includes a sorghum mill, smoke house, gear shed and corn crib. The oldest building in the park, a milk storage building dating to 1822, is also located here.
Park trails, many of them following the original routes of ore miners and furnace workers, cut through some of the most scenic areas of the Tannehill reserve. Among the most popular hiking trails are the Slave Quarters Trail, the old Iron Haul Road (which runs past the Slave Cemetery), the Furnace Trail, Grist Mill Trail and the recently restored Tram Track. A concrete pathway, added under a federal enhancement grant, also extends from the old spring to Farley Field, a distance of about one mile.
All park trails provide an easy walk, most over wide dirt roads, some of which were originally used as early "interstates" traveling between towns and regions such as the Bucksville Stage Road which runs near the Boy Scout area known as Camp Jack Wright. Park trails run between one and four miles in length and a trails map may be purchased at the Country Store or Museum Gift Shop. Hiking and birding are major activities at Tannehill. Link to the Tannehill Trail Map PDF.
On weekends in March thru November (Saturday 10:00 a.m.– 4:00 p.m. & Sunday 12:30 p.m.– 4:00 p.m) and special events the craft cabins located along the plank road in the park’s center come to life with artisans producing pottery, quilts, cane chairs and art work. The cabins, to which visitors are invited, include the Dunkin House (Perry County, 1871), Wendell Stewart House (Bibb County, 1877), Stamps Cabin (Perry County, 1870 partial), the Crocker House (Jefferson County, 1884) and the Gott House, built by noted Appalachian Mountain cabin builder Peter Gott as part of the “Alabama Reunion” in 1989.
The old Tannehill Furnaces in Roupes Valley, 12 miles southwest of Bessemer off Interstate 59/20, constitute one of the oldest industrial sites in the Birmingham Iron and Steel District. Founded in 1830 as a small plant for smelting iron, Tannehill expanded during the Civil War into a large battery of three blast furnaces capable of producing 22 tons of pig iron daily for Confederate military needs. The ironworks, along with a dozen other such facilities in Alabama, were badly damaged in the closing months of the Civil War.
The remains of the furnaces, among the best preserved in the South, are the centerpiece of the 1,500-acre Tannehill Ironworks Historical State Park, created by the Alabama Legislature in 1969 as a memorial to the state's early iron industry. The furnaces are listed on the National Register of Historic Places and the Civil War Discovery Trail.
The John Scott Young Country Store, which was in use from 1905 to 1941, was moved into the park from Highway 5 near Brent in 1991. Today it serves not only as the registration point for campers but supplies grocery items and drinks. You can also purchase corn meal ground at Hall’s Mill here as well as gifts and souvenirs.
The John Wesley Hall Grist Mill and Cotton Gin operated at this site from 1867 to 1931. It was the successor to one of Alabama's earliest grist mills located a mile west on Mill Creek. The original mill was torched by Union Troops during the Civil War. Hall’s Mill was rebuilt in 1976 and today grinds out corn meal sold in the Country Store. The grist mill dam is an interesting spot for tourists and fishermen alike as is the Tapawingo Iron Truss Bridge (1902).
The May Plantation Gin House, located behind the museum, dates to 1858. It was moved into the park in 1991 from its original location near Knoxville in Greene County. It houses cotton ginning equipment including a rare 1881 Gullette gin head with feeder and condenser. The gin house utilized mules or horses to turn its machinery beneath the structure.
The park’s headquarters finds a home in the 1879 Edwards House, once the home of one of Trussville’s first physicians, Dr. John Spearman Edwards. Abandoned for many years as a ghost house along Highway 11, it was moved into the park in 1993 and fully restored. The two-story vernacular-style farm house also serves as a welcome center.
Tannehill Historical State Park has more than 45 historical buildings from the 1800's. These historic buildings have been restored to their original state, each with it's own unique history. Visiting Tannehill is like stepping back in time, these structures and their history are important reminders of our past.
A fun attraction for the kids (from toddlers to great grandparents) is a miniature railway that runs from the main camping area to the trade day area over a mile-long track. Added in 1997, it replaced an even earlier train ride which first opened in 1975. The new train features an 1800s-style engine and riding cards. All aboard….
Creek side fishing is an important attraction at Tannehill where its two main creeks, are stocked each year with rainbow trout. An annual fishing tournament is held in late April with first prize netting $500. Native fish including brim are also in abundance. Roupes Creek, the main body of water, flows into Shades Creek and eventually into the Cahaba River. It is the site of some rare plants including Cahaba Lillies. Park visitors wishing to fish must purchase a $2.00 fishing permit at the Country Store. Presentation of a valid Alabama State fishing license is required.
Picnic areas abound at Tannehill and family reunions are plentiful. Such gatherings may be reserved at nine different picnic shelters including:
• Kiwanis Shelter ($95)
• Vulcan Shelter ($95)
• Forge Shelter ($95)
• Creek Shelter ($45)
• Farley 1, 2 and 3 Shelters ($45)
• Roberts Shelter ($95)
• Hoot & Holler ($45)
Family groups can also reserve the church ($425 for weddings), the Cane Creek School ($135) and the Fowler House School ($75).
Picnic tables are available on a first come first serve basis. Picnic planners should bring their own food and drinks but some items are available for purchase at the Country Store. To reserve space, contact: Stacey Green at 205‑477‑5711.
The park has six (6) rental cabins. Five (5) are rustic log cabins from the 1800s that have been moved into the park and restored. The Nelson House is a trailer that has been converted to a cabin. All the cabins have a furnished kitchen, living room with a fireplace, bathroom, heat and air-conditioning. One rack of firewood is furnished per stay Labor Day until Memorial Day. Additional firewood may be purchased at the Country Store. There are no TVs, radios or telephones in the cabins. Cabins are intended for overnight use only.
Click Here for more information about the Rental Cabins.
Tannehill State Park offers 195 improved campsites divided into three areas with water and electricity supported by two bathhouses and several dump stations. There is also a separate area for primitive tent camping. Camp sites during special events such as Trade Days and the Halloween Festival are popular and sometimes sell out on a first come basis.
Click Here for more information about the Campgrounds.