“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Fitchburg in Estill County, Kentucky — The American South (East South Central)

Fitchburg Furnace

Fitchburg Furnace Marker image. Click for full size.
June 26, 2015
1. Fitchburg Furnace Marker
Inscription.  Each furnace operation was normally a self-contained community, known as an iron plantation, under the direction of an iron master, usually the owner. Under his direction several types of skilled laborers took part in the overall operation. Miners dug the raw iron ore from the local sandstone formations, limestone was quarried from local outcrops, and charcoal was produced from the abundant nearby timber resources to complete the charge necessary to produce quality iron. While most of these activities took place away from the furnace, they were an integral part of the furnace operation. At the furnace itself, smelters were the skilled workmen who cased the iron, potters made the small castings after the molten iron had run out of the furnace, while guttermen had charge of the sand moulds.

Other laborers, often slaves, were the fillers who carried or wheeled the heavy baskets of ore, limestone, and charcoal to the furnace top.

When a furnace had been erected and was ready to be "blown in" or go into production, a large wood fire was built in the stack. This was replenished from time to time until the furnace was completely dried
Fitchburg Furnace image. Click for full size.
June 26, 2015
2. Fitchburg Furnace
out. When the furnace had been thoroughly heated by the fire in the hearth, it was ready for the first charge. All the furnaces in this area were operated by steam being known as quarter furnaces, and when in operation used a cold blast.

The iron in the form of pigs, was hauled by tramroad to the Kentucky River, where they were shipped on flatboats to iron manufacturing plants at Cincinnati and other places. Like the other iron furnaces in this area, most of the iron from this furnace was used in the production of railroad car wheels and rails as the railroads expanded across the country. However, over-speculation and the new ore beds in Alabama brought the iron industry in Kentucky to a standstill. After an investment of about one and a half million dollars in lands, furnaces, buildings, dwelling houses, tramways, roads, and other improvements, the property passed into other hands, leaving a clear loss of over one million dollars to the stockholders.
Location. 37° 43.988′ N, 83° 51.148′ W. Marker is in Fitchburg, Kentucky, in Estill County. Marker can be reached from Fitchburg Road 3.1 miles north of Kentucky Route 52. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Ravenna KY 40472, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 10 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. A different marker also named Fitchburg Furnace (a few steps from this marker); a different marker also named Fitchburg Furnace (a few steps from this marker); a different marker also named Fitchburg Furnace (a few steps from this marker); a different marker also named Fitchburg Furnace (within shouting distance of this marker); Woody Stephens and Forty Niner (approx. 8.3 miles away); County Named, 1852 (approx. 8.3 miles away); Courthouse Burned (approx. 8.3 miles away); Collecting Red River's History (approx. 9.6 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Fitchburg.
Regarding Fitchburg Furnace. Red River Iron Furnace is #74000860 on the National Register of Historic Places.
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker.
Additional comments.
1. Slave Laborers
The marker mentions slaves, but since the furnace was built in 1868, there would not have been slaves.
    — Submitted April 1, 2019, by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland.

Additional keywords. Red River Iron Furnace
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Credits. This page was last revised on April 1, 2019. This page originally submitted on March 30, 2019. This page has been viewed 87 times since then. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on March 30, 2019. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
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