Original Story Ran on Over the Mountain Journal
By Anne Ruisi
August 7, 2023

In 1871, the squalid jumble of tents, shanties and boxcars that eventually became the Magic City sat at one end of a 67-mile railroad gap in North Central Alabama between Birmingham and Decatur.

That’s until a North Alabama railroad man, Col. James W. Sloss, struck a deal with the Louisville and Nashville Railroad to close that gap with rail construction that led to an explosion of development and the birth of the mining and steel industry that earned Birmingham another soubriquet, Pittsburgh of the South.

Sloss, who 10 years later founded Sloss Furnace Company and began construction of the city’s first blast furnace, and two of his descendants, Birmingham real estate developers A. Page Sloss Sr. and Arthur Page “Pete” Sloss Jr., will be honored Aug. 24 when they are inducted into the Kiwanis Club of Birmingham’s Business Hall of Fame. The event, the Kiwanis Club’s 25th induction, will be from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Harbert Center.