Welcome to my Mountain Brook trails web page

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Welcome to my web page for the Mountain Brook trails. I decided to continue the Passport to Fitness program by hiking the two Mountain Brook trails today (May 1, 2010). My call for trailmates went unanswered so I walked the trails alone. The trails are called the East and West Trail. The West Trail is the longer one. It starts in downtown Mountain Brook by the libray and makes a loop through the city and some of the residential areas. The East Trail is a short walk along the Irondale Furnace trail.

The temperature for the hike was in the mid-70's with overcast skies and gusty winds. There was a threat of rain the entire day but it did not rain on me at all during either hike. You will find pictures and descriptions from my walk below. If you have any comments or questions please feel free to drop me an email through the link below. Enjoy! :)

  I walked the West Trail first and it is about four miles long. The trail starts/stops at the Mountain Brook (Robert E O'Neal) Library.
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  The next point of interest on the walk was the Birmingham Country Club. In amongst the trees you will see the clubhouse.
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  The next stop on the walk was the Mountain Brook Baptist Church.
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  A short walk down from the church you will find Mountain Brook Junior High School.
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Further down the street you will find Canterbury United Methodist Church. According to the historical marker found on the site, "Canterbury is the oldest existing establishment in Mountain Brook. It was organized in 1867 as Irondale Methodist when enough settlers to support a church moved into the area around the Irondale Furnace. The first time the North Alabama Conference met in the Birmingham District was in 1874 in the workshop of the furnace. At that time delegates decided to erect their first church on property donated by Pleasant Hickman Watkins on the present-day Hollywood Blvd. west of Mountain Brook Village. The name changed to Union Hill Methodist Episcopal Church. In 1928, when Robert Jemison began developing Mountain Brook, the church was renovated and called the "prettiest country church in the United States. It then became Canterbury Methodist Episcopal church.

This church is the result of the merger of two active churches, Canterbury and Mountain Brook Methodist churches. The latter was organized in 1912 as Crestline Community Church, and within the year a sanctuary was erected on Church Street in Crestline Heights. In 1942, a renovation greatly improved the building and the name changed to Mountain Brook Methodist Church. That building is now Steeple Arts. In 1948, under the encouragement of membership of both churches, a new church was formed. The site selected was formerly a cow pasture of Bearden Dairy. The first service in this new church was Oct. 12, 1952 with 900 members. Today the church has grown by many stages and membership is over 4,300."

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  After crossing Mountain Brook Parkway, you will find a stone bridge. Here's some pictures of the bridge and the creek that crosses beneath it.
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  Crossing the stone bridge you will take the soft trail to the left. The trail is a well-kept gravel trail that is easy to walk. This trail is part of the walking trails in Jemison Park. Upon reaching Beechwood Road you will take a left and cross a second stone bridge. Here's some pictures of the bridge and the creek that crosses beneath it
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  About a mile after crossing the second stone bridge you will come upon St. Luke Episcopal church.
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Down the street from St. Luke's you will reenter Crestline Village. The end is in sight. Here's some pictures of city hall.

From the historical marker, "In 1821 the first settlers came to this area, later called Waddell. Large numbers of people first migrated here in 1863 with the construction of the Irondale Furnace. Destroyed in the Civil War, the furnace was rebuilt and operated from 1867 to 1873. The first school was established in 1857 and the first church in 1867. The area later became known for its many dairies. In 1926 Robert Jemison, Jr. began development of modern day Mountain Brook, which became one of the most beautiful residential cities in America. The city, incorporated in 1942, with Charles F. Zukoskie, Jr. as its first mayor, now encompasses 12 square miles."

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The East Trail runs through the Irondale Furnace park and is about 1 mile long. It is a well-kept, gravel trail that is easy to walk. Here's pictures of the trail head and the historical markers that are on site.

From one side of the marker, "Wallace S. McElwain (1832-1882) McElwain trained in a gun factory in New York and in a foundry in Ohio before moving to Holly Springs, MS, where he operated Jones, McElwain and Company Iron Foundry. He was well known in the Southeast for his beautiful cast iron designs, which still adorn many buildings in the French Quarter in New Orleans. After the Civil War began, he received the first order for the production of rifles and cannons from the Confederacy. He moved his operations to Jefferson County when Union forces approached Holly Springs. He died in Chattanooga, TN."

On the other side of the marker it reads, "Irondale Furnace Ruins (1863-1873) This blast furnace was built in 1863 by Wallace S. McElwain under contract to the Confederate Government to supply pig iron to the arsenal in Selma. Facility encompassed 2,146 acres and included an ore mine, quarry, tramway, foundry, blacksmiths' shops, stables, and employee housing. Destroyed March 29, 1865 by the Fourth Iowa Veteran Volunteers, it was rebuilt in 1866 and operated until 1873. First iron furnace in Alabama to go back into operation after the Civil War. Located 1/4 mile southwest of here. Renovated 2006."

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Pictures from the furnace site.
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  The trail meanders through the woods and beside a brook. It is very peaceful through here and there are several benches where you can rest or read a book.
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  The trail ends abruptly at a private drive. At the end of the drive you will find the Mountain Brook Country Club. I've also included some pictures of the brook just before it enters the country club.
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  Here's a couple of pictures that I took just because during the course of my walk. :)
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Last Updated: May 3, 2010

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