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J. W. Worthington report on furnace properties

Identifier: W-0082

Scope and Contents

This notebook contains correspondence, reports, and maps related to iron furnaces and coal deposits located in Sheffield and Florence, Alabama, and West Point, Tennessee. The material, compiled in 1898 by J. W. Worthington for financier J. W. Gates, describes the output of the furnaces and the furnaces' proximity to major railroads. Worthington concluded that the coal, iron, and furnace properties should be consolidated with the Northern Alabama Railroad to maximize profits. In 1899, Gates purchased approximately thirty small Alabama furnaces, founding the Republic Iron and Steel Company.

The collection also contains a small collection of materials related to the creation of the Pensacola, Alabama, and Tennessee Railway, presumably collected by Worthington for inclusion in his report to Gates.


  • 1899


Physical Description

Report book is very fragile. The front cover has detached from the book, and the correspondence and reports bound in the book are also fragile.

Conditions Governing Access


Biographical / Historical

John Warren Worthington was born on January 14, 1856, near Trussville, Alabama. In 1882, he graduated from The University of Alabama, earning his degree in civil engineering. Worthington was influential in the development of the steel industry in Sheffield, Alabama, working as the manager of the Sloss-Sheffield Steel and Iron Company and encouraging northern investors to finance the growing industry.

Worthington's interests extended beyond steel, and he became an influential voice in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, lobbying for the development of hydroelectric power in the region. In 1906, Worthington founded the Muscle Shoals Hydroelectric Power Company, which merged with the Alabama Power Company in 1911. In 1924, the Alabama Power Company completed the construction of the Wilson Dam.

After the merger, Worthington continued to lobby government officials to provide greater support to the development of dams along the Tennessee River. His efforts culminated in the creation of the Tennessee Valley Authority in 1933. Worthington died on April 4, 1942, and his ashes were scattered in Lake Wilson.

Source: Burt, Reynold B. "Worthington Was Truly a 'Shoals Man,'" Journal of Muscle Shoals History, 15 (2011): 61-64.


0.2 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



One report notebook containing correspondence, maps, and reports on coal fields and iron furnaces located in Alabama and Tennessee.

Physical Location

The A. S. Williams III Americana Collection, Amelia Gayle Gorgas Library, The University of Alabama


Gift of A. S. Williams III, 2010

Related Materials

Republic Steel records, W. S. Hoole Special Collections Library, University Libraries Division of Special Collections, The University of Alabama.

Physical Description

Report book is very fragile. The front cover has detached from the book, and the correspondence and reports bound in the book are also fragile.


Title on Spine: Report to J. W. Gates on Furnace Properties at Sheffield and Florence, Alabama and the North Alabama R. R. Accompanied by Maps of Florence and Sheffield - Compiled by J. W. Worthington, 1898

Processed by

Haley Aaron, 2013.



Guide to J. W. Worthington report on furnace properties
November 2013
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the The University of Alabama Libraries Special Collections Repository

Box 870266
Tuscaloosa AL 35487-0266