Hercules Powder Plant
The Hercules Powder Plant was a blasting powder production facility that operated from 1924 to 1986. It was located near Dolonah Quarry, just northwest of Bessemer, near the present site of Alabama Splash Adventure.
The Hercules Powder Company originated in 1882 as a subsidiary of DuPont. It was split off into a separate company in 1912 after the federal courts broke up the E.I. du Pont de Nemours "powder trust". The company opened its dynamite plant in Bessemer to supply mining operations in the Birmingham District.
Three thousand pounds of nitroglycerin at the plant exploded on January 14, 1975, injuring two. A larger explosion took place at the plant on the evening of October 31, 1979 killed one worker and injured seven others.
In the 1980s the plant was sold to Ireco Inc. of Salt Lake City, Utah. It closed in May 1986 as the industrial explosives industry shifted away from nitroglycerin products. At the time it was shut down the plant, managed by Dick Best, employed 135 people.
- "Bessemer dynamite plant closes." (May 23, 1986) Associated Press/Gadsden Times