Historic Markers Across Alabama

Blocton / Blocton Coke Ovens

Marker ID:  
Location: on Blocton Bypass (County Road 24) 0.1 miles east of Primitive Ridge Road, Blocton, Alabama.
County: Bibb
Coordinates: N 33° 6.896    W 087° 6.425
  33.11493333    -87.10708333
Style: Free Standing **
Waymark: WMKB7A



Centered around the coke ovens, Blocton, first called Gresham, was the Cahaba Coal Mining Company town founded by Truman H. Aldrich in 1883-84. Other company officers included W. A. Clark of Muscatine, Iowa, and Cornelius Cadle, Jr., the town's first postmaster. The first coal was shipped in February 1884. Ten coal mines were eventually opened, the last in 1915 by the Tennesee Coal, Iron & Railroad Company division of U.S. Steel. In its hayday around 1900, Blocton was the largest company town in the Cahaba coal field and had nine churches, two depots, schools, fraternal lodges, a company store, waterworks, hospital and over 375 miners' houses. Blocton declined after U.S. Steel ceased operations in 1928.
Blocton Coke Ovens

Construction began on the bee-hive coke ovens in 1887. Shortly before Woodstock Iron Company directors Samuel Noble, Alfred L. Tyler & W.S. Gurnee became large stockholders in the Cahaba Coal Mining Company to ensure a steady supply of fuel for two new coke furnaces at Anniston. When the Tennessee Coal, Iron & Railroad Company acquired the Cahaba Company in 1892, 467 ovens were producing coke for furnaces at Oxmoor, Bessemer, Birmingham & Trussville as well. After U.S. Steel assumed control in 1907, the ovens operated intermittently for a short time. In 1985, large endwall stones were removed and later used in the restoration of the Civil War furnaces at Tannehill Ironworks Historical State Park. The Town of West Blocton purchased the site in 1972 & 1997.

Erected 1998 by The West Blocton Improvement Committee, The Alabama Historic Ironworks Commission.

End of Blocton / Blocton Coke Ovens