Developed as an industrial area in the 1880s, Bessemer was named for the inventor of the blast furnace. Today most of Bessemer's smelters, mills, and factories are dead. The Colorado Fuel and Iron Company, whose huge plants and soaring smokestacks still dominate the cityscape, is making a comeback with updated rail, rod, and bar mills. Northern Avenue, an I-25 exit, is Bessemer's main street. From Northern Avenue, Santa Fe Avenue leads to the Grove, a small area bounded by Plum Street, the Rio Grande yards, I-25, and the Arkansas River. The Grove's ethnic history is reflected in three Catholic churches within three blocks on Clark Street: Croatians, Slovaks, and Slovenians attended St. Mary's; Italians congregated at Mt. Carmel; and Slavs worshiped at St. Anthony's.
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