Clear Creek Iron Furnace

In the 1800's, America was in need of iron for everything from household pots to wheels for trains. The remains of a 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 once sat on this site. Get out and explore the area, where might the old wagons have traveled? Where would the water channel have been that was used to power the magnificent bellows, imagine the noise of the furnace and above it the sound of children playing.

In contrast to the 1800's iron furnace is a 20th century experimental fiber reinforced foot bridge, also found at this site. This 60-foot lightweight bridge, developed by the University of Kentucky, is the first of its kind in the world. Much like the hand-cut limestone of the iron furnace this bridge was assembled by hand on site without the use of heavy equipment. Crossing this bridge will connect you to the Sheltowee Trace National Recreation Trail, which winds its way south, from here, into Tennessee. Kentucky has a long history of iron production. Oldindustry.org maintains a list of those in Kentucky.

Clear Creek Iron Furnace Photo