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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near Shenandoah in Page County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Catherine Furnace

Underground Railroad for Union Soldiers

 
 
Catherine Furnace Marker Photo, Click for full size
1. Catherine Furnace Marker
Inscription. Built in 1846, Catherine Furnace was one of three Page County furnaces in operation during the Civil War. The 30-foot-tall main stack is nearly all that remains of the cold blast furnace and once-huge operation here, when 22,500 acres supplied wood for charcoal, iron ore, and limestone, and food. With labor scarce, local whites, free blacks and slaves worked here to furnish the Confederacy with pig iron.

Wagons transported the pig iron to Tredegar Iron Works in Richmond, the “Ironmaker of the Confederacy” and largest such operation in the South. The furnace also produced solid cannon shot and perhaps a few cannon tubes. Furnace #2 on Naked Creek made cannon balls as well.

Ironmaster Noah Foltz, a secret Union sympathizer, helped Federal soldiers escape from Page County, across the Massanutten Mountain to Fort Valley. After he mistakenly helped Confederates disguised as Union soldiers “escape,” however, Foltz was arrested but was soon released on bond to continue work at the furnace. The 1st Vermont Cavalry made the only known attempt to destroy the furnace on May 7, 1862. However, because of the ensuing engagement at Somerville Heights, the cavalry contingent never reached here.
 
Erected 2003 by Summers-Koontz Camp #490, with the help of a grant
Catherine Furnace Marker Photo, Click for full size
March 31, 2007
2. Catherine Furnace Marker
from the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation.
 
Location. 38° 33.465′ N, 78° 38.127′ W. Marker is near Shenandoah, Virginia, in Page County. Marker is on Cub Run Road near Newport Road (County Route 685), on the right when traveling west. Click for map. It is located in the George Washington National Forest. Marker is in this post office area: Shenandoah VA 22849, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 6 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Execution of Summers and Koontz (approx. 1.8 miles away); The Burning of Red Bridge (approx. 3 miles away); Somerville Heights (approx. 3.1 miles away); The Stevens Cottage 1890 (approx. 5.1 miles away); Shenandoah Iron Works (approx. 5.1 miles away); Rockingham County / Shenandoah County (approx. 5.8 miles away); Fairfax Line (approx. 5.8 miles away); Sevierís Birthplace (approx. 5.8 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Shenandoah.
 
Regarding Catherine Furnace. Noah Foltz was also conscripted into Confederate military service in the Eighth Battalion Virginia Reserves, though it is very unlikely that he actually saw service in the field. When Foltzís son, Andrew Jackson Foltz, turned seventeen years in 1864, he, along with another boy, Frederick Amos Alger, left Page County to avoid Confederate
Catherine Furnace (Roaring Run in foreground) Photo, Click for full size
March 31, 2007
3. Catherine Furnace (Roaring Run in foreground)
conscription and both enlisted in the Eleventh Pennsylvania Cavalry.

*There is a local legend that the handprint that can be seen in one of the iron support arches above one of the furnace openings (you must look up while standing under it) is Noah Foltz's handprint; he having been forced to put his hand, along with a rat's tail to show his betrayal to the Confederacy, before the iron cooled.

This marker is one of several detailing Civil War activities in Page County, Virginia. Please see the Page County Civil War Markers link below.
 
Also see . . .
1. Avenue of Armies: Civil War Sites and Stories of Luray and Page County, Virginia. for more information about this site and other Civil War sites in Luray and Page County, Virginia. (Submitted on July 10, 2007, by Robert H. Moore, II of Winchester, Virginia.) 

2. Page County Civil War Markers. (Submitted on February 25, 2009, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.)
3. Avenue of Armies: Civil War Sites of Luray and Page County, Virginia. (Submitted on March 20, 2009, by Robert H. Moore, II of Winchester, Virginia.)
 
Categories. War, US Civil
 
Remains of Catherine Furnace Photo, Click for full size
By Robert H. Moore, II, June 2001
4. Remains of Catherine Furnace
Cub Run which flows past Catherine Furnance (Cub Run Road visible to right) Photo, Click for full size
March 31, 2007
5. Cub Run which flows past Catherine Furnance (Cub Run Road visible to right)
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Robert H. Moore, II of Winchester, Virginia. This page has been viewed 6,514 times since then and 416 times this year. Last updated on , by Robert H. Moore, II of Winchester, Virginia. Photos:   1. submitted on .   2, 3. submitted on .   4. submitted on , by Robert H. Moore, II of Winchester, Virginia.   5. submitted on . • Craig Swain was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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