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

Lucy Selina Furnace

Alleghany Iron for the Confederacy

Lucy Selina Furnace Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, September 4, 2017
1. Lucy Selina Furnace Marker
Inscription. You are standing near the site of the Lucy Selina Furnace, which supplied the Confederacy with pig iron for the production of cannons, munitions, and rails during the Civil War. In 1827, two Scots-Irishmen, Col. John Jordan and John Irvine, built this charcoal-fired, cold-blast furnace on Simpson’s Creek and named it after their wives, Lucy Jordan and Selina Irvine. The furnace remained in operation until 1852, when the new hot-blast furnace technology and the high cost of using charcoal instead of bituminous coal made it uneconomical to operate.

The outbreak of the Civil War changed everything. The supply of iron from Northern furnaces was suspended, and the Confederacy became desperate for iron. Lucy Selina Furnace reopened in 1863 and sold pig iron to the Confederate States Nitre and Mining Bureau. Like nearby Australia Furnace, a hot-blast operation, Lucy Selina’s pig iron supplied Richmond’s Tredegar Iron Works—“Ironmaker to the Confederacy.” Union raiders threatened both Alleghany furnaces in 1862 and 1864, but unlike some Virginia ironworks, they escaped destruction. Because many white ironworkers left for the Confederate armed forces, slave labor kept the furnaces operating. Work here was extremely arduous, and food supplies were scarce, which encouraged many slaves to flee. Iron production never lived
Lucy Selina Furnace Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, September 4, 2017
2. Lucy Selina Furnace Marker
up to expectations.

After the war, William Firmstone bought Lucy Selina in May 1870 and converted it to a coke (processed bituminous coal) furnace as part of the Longdale Furnace Company. Nothing remains of Lucy Selina Furnace, but the Longdale Furnace ruins are still standing today a few hundred yards west of here.

For visitor information please contact the Alleghany Highlands Chamber of Commerce & Tourism at 540-962-2178 or visit our website at The Visitors Center is located at 110 Mall Road, Covington, VA.

Lucy Selina Furnace, ca. 1890 Courtesy Alleghany County Historical Society
Lucy Selina Furnace, 1872 - Courtesy National Park Service
Longdale Furnace, ca. 1890 - Firmstone Bed & Breakfast
Longdale Furnace ruins, 2013 - Courtesy John Strott
Erected by Virginia Civil War Trails.
Marker series. This marker is included in the Appalachian Iron Furnaces, and the Virginia Civil War Trails marker series.
Location. 37° 48.619′ N, 79° 40.816′ W. Marker is in Longdale Furnace, Virginia, in Alleghany County. Marker is at the intersection of Longdale Furnace Road (Virginia Route 269) and Collierstown Road (Virginia Route 770), on the right when traveling west on Longdale Furnace Road. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 6209 Longdale Furnace Rd, Clifton Forge VA 24422, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 9 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Australia Furnace (here, next to this marker); a different marker also named Lucy Selina Furnace (approx. 0.3 miles away); Alleghany County / Rockbridge County (approx. 5.2 miles away); Douthat State Park (approx. 6.3 miles away); Captain James Hall (approx. 7.6 miles away); Oxford Church (approx. 7.9 miles away); Masonic Theatre (approx. 7.9 miles away); C&O Railroad Shops (approx. 8.6 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Longdale Furnace.
Also see . . .
1. Alleghany Highlands of Virginia. Alleghany Highlands Chamber of Commerce & Tourism (Submitted on September 5, 2017.) 

2. The history of Firmstone Manor and the Hamlet of Longdale Furnace. Firmstone Manor Bed & Breakfast (Submitted on September 5, 2017.) 

3. Longdale Furnace Historic District (pdf file). National Register of Historic Places (Submitted on September 5, 2017.) 

4. Longdale Mining Complex. Washington & Lee University (Submitted on September 5, 2017.) 
Categories. Industry & CommerceWar, US Civil
Credits. This page was last revised on September 5, 2017. This page originally submitted on September 5, 2017, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia. This page has been viewed 79 times since then and 34 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on September 5, 2017, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.
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