Billy Gould Coal Mine, Confluence of Cahaba River & Buck Creek, Helena, Shelby County, AL
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Confluence of Cahaba River & Buck Creek, Helena, AL
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Documentation compiled after 1968.
Survey number HAER AL-16
Unprocessed field note material exists for this structure (N125).
Significance: As one of the earliest known efforts to exploit the mineral resources of the area, this site represents a crucial stage in the early development of the Birmingham Industrial District. It is also significant for its association with Billy Gould, a pioneering prospector and miner influential in the early development of the coal industry -- and by extension the iron industry -- of Alabama. The most intriguing feature of this site may be the remains of the battery of coke ovens. Based on the years of operation of the site, these ovens represent one of the earliest such structures in Alabama and may be among the oldest extant. The ovens probably contributed coke for the Oxmoor experiments, proving that Alabama coal could be used to make pig iron.
Historic American Engineering Record (Library of Congress)
1. COKE OVEN RETAINING WALL, EXTERIOR WEST.
2. COKE OVEN RETAINING WALL, EXTERIOR SOUTH.
3. COKE OVEN RETAINING WALL, EXTERIOR SOUTH.
4. STEAM ENGINE FOUNDATION, EXTERIOR SOUTHEAST.
5. BRIDGE ABUTMENT, EXTERIOR NORTH.
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