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

Imagining an Iron Furnace in Operation

 

—The River of Promise Trail —

 
Imagining an Iron Furnace in Operation Marker image. Click for full size.
By J. J. Prats, June 16, 2014
1. Imagining an Iron Furnace in Operation Marker
Inscription. Harrison Hagans opened the Virginia Iron Furnace you see here in 1854. Except during the Civil War, the furnace operated intermittently until 1888.

Workers layered limestone, charcoal, and iron ore to forge pig iron that went into steel. A wooden raceway brought water from Muddy Creek and Crab Orchard Run. The 50-food water wheel pumped bellows that blew air into the fire. This kept temperatures at 2600° to 3000° F. At the right time, workers opened a tiny door at the bottom of the stack. The molten iron flowed into sand molds, called the sow, and cooled into pigs. They dumped leftover slag, made of limestone and iron impurities, over the hill.

Hagans would not have built this iron furnace without a nearby stream to provide water power. Now Muddy Creek is orange from acid mide drainage. This resulted from coal mining in the mid-1900s. Follow the trail to learn what is being done to return the stream to a healthy condition.
 
Erected by the Preston County Historical Society.
 
Location. 39° 31.752′ N, 79° 37.99′ W. Marker is near Albright, West Virginia, in Preston County. Marker is on North Preston Highway (West Virginia Route 26) 2.7 miles north of Albright, on the left when traveling north
Virginia Iron Furnace and Marker image. Click for full size.
By J. J. Prats, June 16, 2014
2. Virginia Iron Furnace and Marker
Muddy Creek rapids can be seen through the trees. The guardrail of Route 26 are visible on the right.
. Click for map. It is 9½ miles south of the Route 26 exit on Interstate 68. Marker is in this post office area: Albright WV 26519, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 7 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Old Iron Furnace (within shouting distance of this marker); Albright (approx. 2.5 miles away); Dunkard Bottom (approx. 4.8 miles away); “The Pines” (approx. 4.9 miles away); Price's Tavern (approx. 4.9 miles away); Preston County Courthouse (approx. 4.9 miles away); Kingwood (approx. 4.9 miles away); Dr. Loomis' Grave (approx. 6.8 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Albright.
 
More about this marker. Marker contains two color drawings by Teresa Hedrick Neal captioned, “this is the artist’s conception of the Virginia Iron Furnace based on similar furnaces of the time, since no photographs were available.” Click on the image for Photograph No. 1 to zoom in to view the drawings. The center drawing shows the wooden buildings that would be attached to the stone furnace. The drawing to the right is a cross-section of the furnace. To the left is a map of the River of Promise Trail.
 
Related marker. Click here for another marker that is related to this marker.
 
Categories. Industry & Commerce
 
Muddy Creek at the Virginia Iron Furnace. image. Click for full size.
By J. J. Prats, June 16, 2014
3. Muddy Creek at the Virginia Iron Furnace.
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by J. J. Prats of Springfield, Virginia. This page has been viewed 312 times since then and 17 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on , by J. J. Prats of Springfield, Virginia. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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