Chattanooga History Column: Battelle, Alabama and the Battelle Institute

At the turn of the last century, the thriving mining community of Battelle, Ala., straddled a north-south line along the foot of Lookout Mountain five miles north of Valley Head. Forest, today, has reclaimed the area, and no building remains to cast the aura of the old ghost town.

The settlement once included hundreds of houses, a school, a commissary, a hotel and a post office, in addition to the furnace and coke ovens. Water from a spring was pumped into a large wooden tank and piped into surrounding homes. The "History of DeKalb County" notes that only scattered brick, piles of rotted lumber and an occasional piece of metal mark the ruins of Battelle.

Mining prospectors in the late 1800s in Northeast Alabama found pockets of an acceptable grade of iron ore, coal and limestone, the ingredients for making pig iron.