Cahaba Mines -- Elvira Mine
One of the early coal prospectors in the Cahaba Coal Field was "Uncle" Billy Gould. According to Bennett, Tannehill, p. 89, Gould mined coal in Bibb County. Other sources indicate that Gould also mined coal near Helena as well.
One of the early mines in this area is the Elvira Mine, located just north and west of the Cahaba River, on the south slope of Shade's Mountain. The Alabama Mine Inspector's report of 1898 indicates that mining in this area was originally begun by "Davis and Carr after the War". Old maps indicate several mines in this area, and it is possible that names changed with ownership.
Note that in the image below, on the left side, there is noted "Old Gould Opening".
Note that the location of the mine is shown in the title block as "Sydelton, Ala." This place name is also listed as Sydenton, and is located adjacent to the L&N RR mainline, immediately north of the Cahaba River. Work with this map and others of the same property indicated that the tracks labeled as "L&N RR" are really a spur track from the mainline of the L&N and that the main line of the Atlanta, Birmingham and Coast is located at the bottom right of this image. Other area maps indicate that a rail spur did in fact leave the mainline of the L&N south of Brock's Gap, and north of the river, in the vicinity of Sydenton. The path of this spur was visible on 1940 vintage aerial photos and on today's Google Earth imagery available online.
Birmingham Rails could not pass up this opportunity to go to the field and try to find the Elvira Mine. (On subsequent pages north will be "up").