Ingalls Iron Works

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Ingalls Iron Works Entry, 1951

Ingalls Iron Works was established in 1910 when Ohio businessman Robert I. Ingalls purchased the Richards Iron Works in Shelby County and built an iron and steel finishing plant in Titusville, near Alice Furnaces and the Birmingham Rolling Mills. The plant fabricated structural members for building and bridge construction from raw steel as well as ornamental iron castings for fire escapes, railings, stairs and urns.

1940s Ingalls Iron Works ad showing C-3 cargo ships

In 1924 Ingalls acquired the Birmingham Tank Company and the company took the position of largest single-unit steel fabricator in the South. In 1938 Ingalls developed a shipbuilding operation in Pascagoula, Mississippi. The business grew into one of the largest shipbuilding companies in the country, producing high tech destroyers and nuclear submarines into the 1970s.

Ingalls died in 1951, having unsuccessfully tried to buy out his son, Bob, Jr, from his interest in the company following the son's divorce and remarriage in 1948. After a drawn-out legal battle, Bob Jr was named chairman in 1952.

The shipyard business was sold to Litton Industries in 1961, which continues to operate Ingalls Shipbuilding as a wholly-owned division based in Pascagoula. The company's other sites, including the Birmingham location, were sold to Trinity Industries in 1981.

Ingalls Fire, April 9,2007

Two office buildings, one built in the early 1900s and one built in the 1950s remained vacant on the site after Ingalls closed down. The 27-acre site was purchased in 2005 by the Jefferson County Economic and Industrial Development Authority on behalf of Jefferson County and the city of Birmingham.

On April 9, 2007 both buildings were damaged in an intentionally-set fire. The Development Authority proceeded to clean up the site, but was unable to interest developers in the site. The Authority voted in November 2008 to pursue plans to sell its interest in the property to the City of Birmingham.

References