By Rebecca Drew
HAUNTING pictures show the rusting remains of the once thriving steel works that produced up to 250 tons of metal a day in the early 1900s.
From crumbling outhouses to collapsing office ceilings and dust ridden controls overlooking the coke ovens, the factory is a far cry from its heyday when it employed up to 1,800 employees. Other shots show chains hanging from the ceiling and ominous chimneys still standing boldly against the surrounding landscape.
The pictures were taken at the Republic Steel works in Birmingham, Alabama, USA by an urban explorer known only as Abandoned Southeast.
“I’ve always enjoyed exploring especially abandoned places. I got into photography while visiting a lot of amazing places that were being demolished or renovated,” he said.
“I wanted to capture these places in photos before they were gone.
“I’ve known about this mill for years, I started exploring here back in 2014 with permission from the owner since it is located on private property.
“This steel mill is one of the most well preserved mill works in Alabama.
“At one time, steel mills were the heart and soul of Birmingham. The city was once nicknamed the ‘Pittsburgh of the South’.”
The works’ furnace operation thrived through the early 1900s and coke ovens were installed in October 1925. Republic Steel’s success continued until the 1970s, when due to increasing workforce costs and imports forced the furnaces to shut down in 1971.
“I love the decay and how it seems time stands still. Places like this are harder and harder to come by these days, you don’t see steel mills this well preserved,” added Abandoned Southeast.
“There is no graffiti or trash, the majority of the complex is as it was left many years ago.
“People are astonished at what is left behind in these amazing places.
“Today the mill is used as an ‘artist haven’ where sculptures and artisans from across the world come to work on their craft.”
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