Sept. 9, 1887
Industrialist Henry Fairfield DeBardeleben founded Bessemer in 1886 after buying 4,000 acres of land for a planned new town in Jefferson County associated with his iron and coal business. He named the town after Sir Henry Bessemer, who invented the steel-making process most often used at that time. By June 1887, the town had 1,000 people and a court and jail. That year, Bessemer citizens chose Robert M. McAdory as the first mayor and elected eight councilmen. The mayor and council voted to incorporate the city on this day in 1887.
Read more at Encyclopedia of Alabama.
Henry DeBardeleben (1840-1910) was a pioneering Alabama industrialist. He was a ward of industrialist Daniel Pratt and in 1863 married his daughter, Ellen Pratt. DeBardeleben held many positions in the Pratt Company, including management of the reconstruction of the Oxmoor furnace in Birmingham in the early 1870s. (From Encyclopedia of Alabama, courtesy of Birmingham Public Libraries)
A St. Clair County mine of the DeBardeleben Coal Company, which evolved from mining operations established by pioneering industrialist Henry F. DeBardeleben in the late nineteenth century. (From Encyclopedia of Alabama, courtesy of Alabama Department of Archives and History)
Southern Railway Depot, 1905 Alabama Avenue, Bessemer. (Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division)
The Bessemer Hall of History, located in Bessemer, Jefferson County, houses a large and diverse collection of artifacts, memorabilia, and photographs relating to the prehistory and history of the Bessemer area. (From Encyclopedia of Alabama, photo courtesy of the Bessemer Hall of History)
For more on Alabama’s Bicentennial, visit Alabama 200.