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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Elk Park in Avery County, North Carolina — The American South (South Atlantic)
 

Cranberry Iron Mine

Iron for the Confederacy

 
 
Cranberry Iron Mine Marker image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, August 20, 2014
1. Cranberry Iron Mine Marker
Inscription. During the Civil War, natural resources such as salt, lead, and iron were highly prized commodities in the Confederacy. The government relied especially on small rural ironworks to manufacture cannons, swords, and firearms. Ruben White first mined iron ore in this area in the 1780s. By 1860, the Cranberry Iron Corporation operated a bloomer forge on Cranberry Creek. Jordan C. Hardin ran the mine, and his father, John Hardin, was the local postmaster. In a bloomer, burning charcoal melted the iron from the ore. Workers used an iron bar to stir and gather the resulting mass, which was carried to the forge and hammered to drive out impurities, and then further hammered into flat bars of iron.

Forty to sixty men were employed at Cranberry during the war, mining ore and forging iron for the Confederacy. Once a month, the bar iron was loaded in a wagon, and Peter Hardin, a local slave, drove the wagon down the mountain to Camp Vance, near Morganton. There, the iron was loaded on a train and transported to foundries throughout the South that produced munitions for the war effort.

Following the war, the Cranberry mine property changed hands several times. Former Confederate Gen. Robert F. Hoke owned the operations for several years, and he and his associates incorporated the Cranberry Iron and Coal Company in 1873. The mine
Cranberry Iron Mine Marker image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, August 20, 2014
2. Cranberry Iron Mine Marker
was worked sporadically through the first half of the twentieth century.

(captions)
(lower left) Bloomery forge, Frederick Overmann, The Manufacture of Iron (1850)
(upper right) Gen. Robert F. Hoke Courtesy Library of Congress; Jordan C. Hardin Courtesy Mike Hardin

Major funding for this project was provided by the North Carolina Department of Transportation through the Transportation Enhancement Program of the Federal Transportation Efficiency Act for the 21st Century.
 
Erected by North Carolina Civil War Trails.
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the North Carolina Civil War Trails marker series.
 
Location. 36° 9.093′ N, 81° 57.786′ W. Marker is in Elk Park, North Carolina, in Avery County. Marker can be reached from the intersection of Elk Park Highway (State Highway 194) and U.S. 19E, on the right when traveling east. Touch for map. The marker is located on the grounds of the Historic Site of Cranberry High School. Marker is in this post office area: Elk Park NC 28622, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 8 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Cranberry Mines (within shouting distance of this marker); Lees-McRae College
Cranberry Iron Mine Marker image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, August 20, 2014
3. Cranberry Iron Mine Marker
(approx. 5 miles away); Shepherd M. Dugger (approx. 5 miles away); Banner Elk (approx. 5.2 miles away); Overmountain Men (approx. 5.4 miles away); Yellow Mountain Road (approx. 6.7 miles away); A Woman of War (approx. 7.5 miles away); Asa Gray (approx. 8 miles away).
 
Categories. Industry & CommerceWar, US Civil
 
Sign at the entrance to the Cranberry Iron Mine Marker image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, August 20, 2014
4. Sign at the entrance to the Cranberry Iron Mine Marker
Historic Cranberry High School image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, August 20, 2014
5. Historic Cranberry High School
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on September 26, 2014, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Md 21234. This page has been viewed 446 times since then and 51 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on September 26, 2014, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Md 21234. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.
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