Photographer's Note

The Clear Creek Iron Furnace is a relic of Kentucky's once flourishing iron industry. In the 1830's, Kentucky ranked third nationwide in pig iron production. The surrounding forests were logged to provide charcoal for the cut-stone furnace, producing iron to be used in railroad car wheels. The site has been determined eligible for nomination to the National Register of Historic Places.

In the 1800's, America was in need of iron for everything from household pots to wheels for trains. The remains of this blast furnace dominate the site at the picnic area. This furnace produced an average of 3 tons of iron a day devouring half an acre of trees in the process. The Kentucky hillsides, rich in natural resources, not only provided the iron ore but also provided the necessary limestone and trees used in the iron making process. Hand-cut limestone, stacked 40 feet tall with an inside diameter of 10 1/2 feet, make up the chimney - the core of the iron making process. A small village, complete with a store, school, laundry service, and church was once located at this site.

Brent Reeves
Westminster, California

Source: United States Forest Service

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