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Bessemer is a city outside of Birmingham in Jefferson County. It is part of the Birmingham-Hoover Metro Area. The city has a total area of 40.8 square miles. 40.7 square miles of it is land and 0.1 square miles (0.17%) is water. It is situated at an elevation of 510 feet. The land was surveyed in 1887, and incorporated in 1889. The town was the brainchild of industrialist Henry Fairchild DeBardeleben. It was DeBardeleben who decided to rename the city Bessemer, changing it from Brooklyn, in honor of Sir Henry Bessemer, the British scientist who was famous for his contribution to the steel making process.
Bessemer is in the southern part of Jones Valley, which in turn is part of the iron ore and limestone district of the state. Though iron ore supplies locally have been exhausted, manufacturing remains a major player with the Mueller Water Products U.S. Pipe division ductile pipe plant on the northern side of the city. U.S. Pipe announced in 2007 that it would be building a new $45-million foundry near the current plant, partly due to space availability for future expansion. Though decline in the mineral wealth of the region led to a slump a few decades ago, a revitalization has been seen now, thanks to the efforts of the Bessemer Area Chamber of Commerce and the Bessemer Industrial Development Board. Retail and recreation options include the Watermark Place, an outlet mall near Alabama Adventure. Colonial Promenade Tannehill, a new mixed used retail development, opened at the Exit 1 interchange with Interstate 459, in the year 2008. Publix supermarket, Target, Hibbett Sporting Goods, JC Penney, Bama Fever and a 14-screen movie theatre are all present in Colonial Promenade Tannehill. To the southeast of the city is Bessemer Airport. Bessemer has an independent education system, under which are five elementary schools, one middle school and one high school. Bessemer Academy, Rock Christian School, and Flint Hill Christian School are the three private schools in the city. Bessemer's cost of living is 19.20% lower that the country average, making living here significantly cheaper.
The city gets about 59 inches of rain annually, with about 117 days having measurable precipitation. Snowfall is about an inch annually.