The Bibb County Iron Company under the direction of C. C. Huckabee of Newbern, Alabama, constructed a furnace here and poured the first iron in November 1862. Within a year, the Confederate government purchased the works and completed a second and larger furnace alongside whose stack exists today. Known as the Bibb Naval Works, the facility was a major contributor of iron used for Confederate ordnance especially the Brooke cannon.
On the morning of 31 March 1865, Union General James H. Wilson's 10th Missouri Cavalry wrecked these furnaces and a rolling mill 2 ½ miles east. After the Civil War, former Confederate Ordnance Bureau Chief Josiah Gorgas (later Vice-Chancellor of the University of the South at Sewanee and President of the University of Alabama) acquired the works from the United States Freedman's Bureau. The Brierfield Iron Works Company was organized, and after extensive repairs, the furnaces reopened. These efforts failed and in 1869 the furnaces and rolling mill were leased to Thomas S. Alvis, a Gorgas subordinate, whose business collapsed during the Panic of 1873. The furnaces remained idle until 1881.
Thomas Jefferson Peter, the former general manager of the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad, organized the Brierfield Coal & Iron Company and operated the works through most of the 1880s while adding coal mines and coke ovens. A post office was established here named Furnace, and the nearby town of Brierfield was called the "Magic City of Bibb County." Peter went bankrupt in 1889 and reorganized as the Alabama Iron & Steel Company. The furnace and rolling mill worked intermittently until just before Christmas 1894 when all operations ceased forever.