The city of Bessemer in Jefferson County is located 18 miles southwest of Birmingham. It is inside the Birmingham-Hoover Metropolitan area which is comprised of over 1 million people. Bessemer is located in the southern section of Jones Valley, at the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. The city is situated along the Interstate 59/20 corridor and is in proximity to the city conveniences of Birmingham and the Mercedes Plant in Vance.
Bessemer was founded in 1887 by the Bessemer Land and Improvement Company. It is known as the Marvel City due to the growth in population it experienced during the 19th and 20th centuries. During the height of the steel manufacturing era, Bessemer was considered stiff competition with Birmingham. The deposits of iron ore, coal and limestone in the area made Bessemer the center of steel producing industry through the 20th century. However, the city began to see a decline as steelmaking in the Birmingham area diminished. Today, while steel is no longer produced in Bessemer, other businesses have located their operations in the city. Companies such as Dollar General, Amsted Rail, and U.S. Pipe have opened facilities in Bessemer.