Bessemer City is a city in Piedmont.
History of Bessemer City Discover Our Past
In the year 1754, King George II of England granted land to James Ormand. That land was located in what then was known as Tryon County, Carolina. Mr. Ormand established the Ormand Mining Company, and that company helped in the establishment of Bessemer City.
The Old Ormand Furnace is the oldest stack of its kind in America. This is where they processed some of the iron ore that was mined in this area. Its has an elusive history, but one story is that it was built to make cannon balls for use in the Revolutionary War.
Tryon County was split in 1846, and part of it became Gaston County. In 1893 Bessemer City was chartered as a city in Gaston County. Mr. John Askew Smith was one of the founders of Bessemer City. A house that he built in the early 1900's was called "Highacre," and is now owned by the Eury family, who live in it currently. The Old Ormand Furnace still exists, but is used as a picnic ground and gathering place for the Ormand Family Reunion, one of the oldest family reunions in America, it has been held annually ever since 1897.
Agriculture was the chief occupation at that time, corn and cotton were the main crops. Cotton mills started to prosper in this area at about that time, also. The population of Bessemer City at the time of its charter was very small, there were only a few families in town, but by 1900 it had grown to between 500 and 600 people.
In 1895, Stonewall Jackson Durham and John M. Odell incorpored Southern Cotton Mills and as their first venture completed and opened the failed Smith/Pinchback Mill. A series of textile mills opened by Smith and Pinchback; Durham and Odell; Frank, Robert and Max Goldberg; as well as the Ragan Spinning Company, gave Bessemer City its industrial foundation.
Today Bessemer City is still in the mining business. One of our largest industries is FMC Lithium, Inc. They are the largest producers of lithium in both Americas. Lithium is used in pharmaceuticals, batteries, ceramics, etc.
There is also still some agriculture in the form of Kiser's Dairy Farm, among others. Mr. Kiser is a descendent of one of the founding families of Bessemer City and he has about 200 animals. Recently, many diversified industries have discovered the many assets of Bessemer City and have chosen the opportunity to grow and prosper with us.
The easiest way for the traveler to access Bessemer City is to travel on Interstate 85 and take the needed exit to Edgewood Road. This road is littered with Gaston County Police, so obeying the traffic laws are a must. On the way you will pass numerous churches and Edgewood Grill. As anywhere else in the South, people do not respond with a kind reaction to honking, tailgating, or staring; use Common Courtesy.
As Bessemer City is meager 4.25 square miles is too hard to get yourself lost; most businesses are located on the Gastonia Highway. Also, as an outsider, you will find difficult traffic situations to navigate ( if you do not have a STOP sign or red light, you have the right of way (you can only understand once you've driven through town). You need to be wary while navigating through downtown Bessemer City, as it is very busy during the business day and very uses very crampt parking spaces.
Abandoned gold mines occupy the outskirts of Bessemer City (thought not illegal to visit, it is discouraged for lack of safety) near Falls Lake. A nature trail built by the local Boy Scout Troop occupies Bessemer City Park (pool, tennis court, etc) and is a 400 ft loop, complete with 20 birdhouses and 2 batboxes. Evidence of a wagon trail (believed to have been used by miners) coexists with the nature trail. Crowder's Mountain (2nd tallest mountain in the Piedmont Region) is approximately 2 miles south of Bessemer City.
Summer recreation consists of fishing in local ponds, swimming in the Bessemer City public pool, and hiking at Crowder's Mountain State Park.
Local eateries such as Dan's and Grandma Hoyt's hold a special place in the stomach of the Bessemer City