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Bessemer Land & Improvement Co. and Bessemer Coal, Iron & Land Co. stock certificates

Identifier: MSS-3712

Scope and Contents

The collection contains stock certificates from the Bessemer Land and Improvement Co. (1887-1888) and the Bessemer Coal, Iron and Land Co. (1905-1918).


  • 1887-1918

Biographical / Historical

Originally surveyed in 1887 and incorporated in 1889, Bessemer was the vision of industrialist Henry Fairchild DeBardeleben. At age 30 DeBardeleben came to Birmingham and soon acquired a controlling interest in the Red Mountain Iron and Coal Company, which was later renamed the Eureka Mining Company; DeBardeleben was the general manager of this company. It was during this time in 1886 that he proposed to buy a site consisting of 4,040 acres of land that was located about 13 miles (21 km) to the southwest of Birmingham for approximately $100,000. DeBardeleben's plan was to build eight furnaces and to add two additional railroad outlets to the city within two years. He believed that the future of this city and the surrounding areas depended on the success of its iron and steel resources. The original name of the city was Brooklyn; however DeBardeleben decided to rename the city Bessemer in honor of Sir Henry Bessemer, the British scientist who was famous for his contribution to the steel making process. Soon several companies from around the country began to look at Bessemer as a possible site for relocation. DeBardeleben founded one of the first buildings in the city in 1887, the Bessemer Land and Improvement Company. The company surveyed the land and plotted streets, parks, and lots around the area. The company sold its first lot on April 12, 1887.

The move into coal mining and iron production was a natural choice after the failure of the company to attract a major steel producer to Bessemer. The founders had agreed to the site for their new city based on the land's fortuitous location between the ores of Red Mountain, the rich coal veins of the surrounding area, and the vast limestone resources of the Jones Valley. To reflect the new missions of the company, it was renamed in 1903 as the Bessemer Coal, Iron, and Land Company.


0.05 Linear Feet (12 stock certificates)

Language of Materials



Early stock certificates from these significant coal and land development companies


gift of Lisa Findley and Jeff Sims, 2013


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Processed by

Martha Bace, 2013


Guide to the Bessemer Land & Improvement Co. and Bessemer Coal, Iron & Land Co. stock certificates
June 2013
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Repository Details

Part of the The University of Alabama Libraries Special Collections Repository

Box 870266
Tuscaloosa AL 35487-0266