Exploring Historic Sloss Furnaces in Birmingham, Alabama

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Sloss Furnaces in Birmingham was one of the most unique places I’ve been in the US. Built in the 1880’s, the blast furnaces produced pig iron for 90 years before being shut down. The site was given historic designation in the 1980’s, and today a nice visitor center has some exhibits on its fascinating history worth checking out before you water around some minimally marked off paths that basically give you free reign to wander and climb in and out of different areas. Certain more dangerous areas are marked off, but mostly you are left to use your own common sense as you wander through tunnels, peer into furnaces, and climb up access stairs. It’s a surreal experience, and it’s all free! My photos didn’t turn out too well due to the bright noon sun, but the place is a photographer’s dream.

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[35mm taken with my Canon EOS Rebel 2000. For more photos of my 2016 roadtrip through the South, click here.]

Newport, Rhode Island

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Photos from our August 2015 road trip from Maryland to Maine and back. In Newport we skipped the Gilded Age mansions and explored some of the quainter corners of this quintessential New England city.

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[35mm shot with my Canon EOS Rebel 2000. Click here to see all the posts from this New England road trip.]

MD: The Dr. Mudd House

Maryland4Post War of 1812, one of the more significant historical events near my family home in Upper Marlboro, MD, was the case of Dr. Samuel A. Mudd. Dr. Mudd was an upstanding citizen with a successful medical practice in what is now Waldorf, MD until one fateful day when a stranger with a broken leg knocked on his door late at night asking for help and treatment.

Poor Dr. Mudd had no way of knowing that the stranger was John Wilkes Booth, who was on the lamb with a broken leg after assassinating President Lincoln at the Ford Theater in Washington, D.C. As a result of being in the wrong place at the wrong time, Dr. Mudd would spend many years in a prison far from his family, and his reputation would never recover. Historical myth says he is the origin of the idiom “your name is mud,” but the OED records it’s use in the early 1800’s, before the Mudd/Booth incident.

Maryland1Today, the house and grounds are a museum where you can learn about Dr. Mudd, life in rural central Maryland in the mid 1800’s, the conspiracy to kill Lincoln, and the manhunt that followed. Aleksi and I visited in June 2015. It’s a really beautiful 20 minute drive from my dad’s house down winding country/forest roads, and the farm itself is really beautiful. Definitely a pleasant trip if you’re a history lover and find yourself in the area.

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Maryland2 [35mm taken with my Canon EOS Rebel 2000. Click here for more pictures of Maryland.]