Oxmoor is the name given to the location of one of Birmingham's earliest industrial complexes. It is also the location of one of the milestone events in the development of the iron industry in the Birmingham District -- the making of iron using coke rather than charcoal -- coke made from locally mined coal.
Located in the picturesque Shades Creek Valley, in the shadow of Shades Mountain, Oxmoor was named for an estate located in Scotland, Ox Moor. Oxmoor is a key part of the path of the development of the Birmingham District, not only because of the use of coke for making iron, but also because of the timing of its development, the relationship to the founders of the District's history as well as the development of the South and North Alabama Railroad. The site was originally located and developed by key backers of the South and North, as well as being located along the proposed right of way.
Oxmoor Furnace became a lesser jewel in the crown of the Tennessee Coal, Iron and Railroad Company (TCI), but its importance in the history of the development of the Birmingham District makes it a rare jewel indeed.
There are several stages in the evolution of the Oxmoor complex, starting during the Civil War. [Woodward, Alabama Blast Furnaces, 1940, pp. 106-108]
According to Woodward, the No. 1 furnace was blown in in October or November of 1863. Woodward indicates that Oxmoor No.1 preceeded McIllwain's Irondale furnace by a matter of weeks or months. In subsequent years the furnaces were rebuilt to differing configurations, and often idle for a variety of reasons, and yet they continued to be operated for 64 years. Thus, as Woodward notes, Oxmoor was the site of Jefferson County's first blast furnace.
According to Woodward, the last iron was made at Oxmoor in May, 1927. Both stacks were dismantled in 1928.
Today the site of the Oxmoor furnaces is a cul-de-sac roadway in an industrial park along the Oxmoor-Shannon Road.