What: The central attraction of the park is the old Brierfield Ironworks, which was a major source of iron for the Confederate army, along with the nearby Tannehill Ironworks. The old ironworks isn’t so much there any more, having been destroyed by the Union army, rebuilt, and then decommissioned (or whatever happens to old ironworks) in 1894. But what remains is impressive enough – a giant hulk of bricks and mortar built into a hill that you can hike up to see the reservoir where water was drawn for the forging process.
Where: Just outside the scenic town of Six Mile, on the 52 outside of the noted speed trap that is Centerville, Alabama.
Who: Campers, musket enthusiasts, Civil War re-enactors, Baptists, Harley-Davidson riders, aging state park convenience store porch groupies, loquacious Park Service guys, bluegrass aficionados, members of the “North South Skirmish Association,” and attendees of the annual antique tractor show.
Why: According to the nice man dispensing tickets at the entrance, it’s the only state park with both a church and a firing range on the premises: “Every Sunday at 9:30 in the morning, church starts and the muzzleloaders start firing.”
When: In the late afternoon when the social element of the park is at its zenith, with ladies wandering to and from the bath and a healthy bevy of motorcyclists reclining in the tall grass while the aroma of grilled meat wafts from the many campsites, you can truly be transported back in time. Park staff advise checking the website before you go, as there are many events at the park that are not listed on the brochure. There is, evidently, an annual bluegrass festival at the park; alas, Lost in Montgomery was unable to learn the date of its next iteration.
For more information: http://www.brierfieldironworks.com/