Lone Pine Gap

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Lone Pine Gap c. 1910
Lone Pine Gap in 1915

Lone Pine Gap is a gap through Red Mountain between Birmingham's South Highlands and Homewood. It was deepened by a cut for the Birmingham Mineral Railroad, exposing a section of the mountain's ore-bearing geology that was reported widely at the turn of the 19th century. The iron ore-bearing strata exposed included the 17-foot-thick "Big seam" and the 6-foot-thick "Irondale seam", both part of the Clinton formation.

The Lone Pine Mines were sunk into the northern slopes of Red Mountain near the gap and just below the ridge around 1904 and were operated by the Tennessee Coal, Iron & Railroad Company.

Except for the Mineral Railroad, the gap carried little more than a "pig trail" Over the Mountain to Shades Valley, crossing the railroad bed on a "wagon bridge". The pass was made briefly more accessible by the Red Mountain Railroad Line, backed by the Clifton Land Company, which operated between 1889 and 1893.

In 1909 the Edgewood Electric Railway, a service incorporated by Troupe Brazleton and Stephen Smith, developers of the Edgewood Lake resort and Edgewood residential subdivision in present-day Homewood struck a deal to lower the road bed about 72 feet, passing under the Mineral Railroad. Jefferson County contributed to the project in return for the establishment of a 16-foot-wide right of way for automobile traffic.

The roadway was gradually improved for adventurous motor-car drivers as 18th Street South, and later as part of the Montgomery Highway, until it was by-passed by the opening of the Red Mountain cut to the east.

Five acres of TCI's former mining property was donated to Birmingham as the site for Vulcan Park in the mid-1930s.

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