Bluffton Alabama

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Rock Run Furnace & Town, County Road 12, Rock Run, Cherokee County, AL Source Collection Historic American Engineering Record (Library of Congress)

Bluffton Alabama

Digital Alabama Guide To Alabama Ghost Towns

Digital Alabama / Digital Alabama

Source: Facebook Historical Photos of Cherokee County

Bluffton, Alabama,  was founded as a mining community in 1888 Cherokee County, Alabama. In 1890, Bluffton was home to approximately 8,000 residents. The Bluffton Land, Ore and Furnace Company operated an iron mine in the area, and was also responsible for building the Signal Hotel, which at one point hosted Rudyard Kipling. The Signal Hotel was the first structure in Cherokee County with electric lights.

Bluffton had one newspaper, the Bluffton Mascot, and was home to a Methodist Episcopal church and Salem Baptist Church, which is still in use today. Bluffton was also the planned site of a college, The University of the Southland. A groundbreaking took place on April 24, 1889, but the college was never built. Besides the iron mines, Bluffton was home to a water works system, school, post office, and Cherokee County’s first electrical generating plant. Even so, Bluffton’s ore fields did not meet the expectations of their investors and higher grade iron was available closer to Birmingham. Commercial businesses began to fail, and Bluffton soon came to be considered a ghost town.

Source: Wikipedia contributors, “Bluffton, Alabama,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia

Notes-  Significance: The town of Rock Run, primarily built to house and support the employees of the Rock Run furnace, is typical of the industrial towns scattered through the South at the turn of the century. While the early twentieth century town contained a school, commissary, numerous houses, and a relatively large charcoal furnace, only about 15 houses and the commissary have survived. One of many furnaces located in Alabama in the 1800s and early 1900s, the Rock Run furnace is said to have been the last charcoal furnace in the U.S. to have been blown out.

Source: Historic American Engineering Record (Library of Congress)

David Stacks, wrote about Bluffton

Kelly Kazek wrote: Abandoned miners’ store, homes remain in ghost town of Rock Run

Plat of the City of Bluffton, Cherokee County, Alabama

Geological Survey of Alabama

Bluffton Alabama City Plat

A Cherokee County Ghost Town

Bluffton is an unincorporated community in Cherokee County. Bluffton was founded as a mining community in 1888. In 1890, Bluffton was home to approximately 8,000 residents. The Bluffton Land, Ore and Furnace Company operated an iron mine in the area, and was also responsible for building the Signal Hotel, which at one point hosted Rudyard Kipling. The Signal Hotel was the first structure in Cherokee County with electric lights. Bluffton had one newspaper, the Bluffton Mascot, and was home to a Methodist Episcopal church and Salem Baptist Church, which is still in use today.

 Besides the iron mines, Bluffton was home to a water works system, school, post office, and Cherokee County’s first electrical generating plant. Incorporated businesses included:

The Bluffton Land, Ore and Furnace Company
The American Arms Company
The Signel Land and Improvement Company
The Bluffton Carwheel Company
The Newark Land Company
Even so, Bluffton’s ore fields did not meet the expectations of their investors and higher grade iron was available closer to Birmingham. Commercial businesses began to fail, and Bluffton soon came to be considered a ghost town.

A post office was operated in Bluffton from 1888 to 1934.

Coordinates: 34°00′25″N 85°26′24″W
The following excerpt is extracted from an article written by the Rome News Tribune of Rome, Geogia on March 19, 2002:

Bluffton was a boomtown during Bob’s early youth but doesn’t exist now. Drive out Prior Station Road from Cedartown and approximately two miles into Alabama is where it used to be, in the center of a triangle formed by Cedartown, Piedmont and Centre. Back in 1890 it was a thriving city of approximately 8,000 residents and looked upon to be the Pittsburgh of the South. The Bluffton Land, Ore and Furnace Co. had purchased around 1, 500 acres and had great plans for its future. This company’s capital stock was valued at one million in 1890. Bluffton officials planned for a population of nearly 50,000 by the start of the 20th century. The town had the first electrical generating plant in Cherokee County, a water-works system, a newspaper, hotel, churches, a school and a post office by 1890. Many businesses were established there. Signal Land & Improvement Co. built houses, sold and mortgaged real estate and was involved with many construction projects in the area. Bluffton Cartwheel Co. manufactured all articles, large and small, made from iron. The American Arms Co. manufactured rifles, furniture, wagons, bicycles and many other products. Its main building was 220 feet long. The Sash, Door and Blind Co. and several other factories were also at Bluffton.

FOUR IRON FURNACES were operating in the area by 1890. They were located at Rock Run, Tecumseh, Stonewall and Etna. These companies built houses for their employees and formed baseball teams for their enjoyment. The Bluffton Land, Ore and Furnace Co. constructed one of the finest hotels in Alabama and approximately 200 houses in 1890. The Signal Hotel, a three- storied building, hosted many dignitaries. Among them Rudyard Kipling, the famous author from England. This hotel was the first structure in the county furnished with electric lighting. The area was serviced by the East Tennessee, Virginia and Georgia Railroad. This railroad was on the main line from New York to New Orleans and all points east and west could be traveled from Bluffton Station. The depot was located near the Signal Hotel. A college, the University of the South was planned and Bluffton officials donated $500,000 to get it under way. The Methodist Episcopal Church was to have it built at a cost of between $1.5 million and $2 million. The architectural plans were compared to Westminster Abbey of England. A ground- breaking took place on April 24, 1890, with many dignitaries from all over the country in attendance.

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