FULL NAME: John Gordon Battelle
Colonel John Gordon Battelle, the namesake of Battelle, Alabama, was the leader of a group of Ohio mining speculators called the Lookout Mountain Iron Company.
Even though he had larger investments in the iron/steel industry in the Middle West and Ohio, Battelle had the most interest in his smaller operation at Lookout Mountain.
Eventually, Battelle moved to the town, and supervised the mine activity up until the minerals became too scarce to compete with other mines in the Birmingham area. In 1905, the furnace was used on a standby-basis, and the town gradually became more and more empty as people left.
During World War I, the British government decided to purchase the furnace. It was dismantled and sent to Calcutta, India. Battelle’s investment in the mine was unsuccessful, but he did extremely well in his other investments. He passed away in 1918, leaving his $4,000,000 to Gordon Battelle, his only son.
Gordon died in 1923, and had the fortune given to the Battelle Memorial Institute of Columbus, Ohio.