Wednesday, March 04, 2020

Catawba Furnace

These are the remains of the Catawba Furnace. You can see it from the road near the cement plant. The furnace was originally built in 1830. It operated for about 20 years then went out of service until the Civil War, when Tregedor Iron Works put it back into service for a short time. By 1865, it was no longer a working iron furnace again.

I had not visited this furnace for at least 15 years, and it has fallen in significantly in that time span.

This is from the Virginia Department of Historic Resources website:

"This cold-blast charcoal furnace was built on an unusual round plan in 1830. It ran on water power from the Catawba Creek. The original Catawba Furnace consisted of one stack and many wooden buildings situated on 10,000 acres in Botetourt County. In 1863, the property included a corn mill, saw mill, stable, granary, coal shed, blacksmith and wheelwright shop, managers house, one frame boarding house, six cabins for laborers, an office, sheds, and an ore washing machine. Although abundant coal was found on the property of Catawba, the furnace was never converted into using coal or coke. Pig iron was hauled from Catawba Furnace over twenty miles of rough roads to Buchanan and the James River and Kanawha Canal, where it was loaded onto barges to be sent to Richmond. Difficulties in transportation limited production after the Civil War. Pig iron from this furnace was so valued that it sold for as much as $60 per ton, and was transported (in small quantities) to Boston, and all the way to Maine. A large part of Catawba Furnace collapsed in the 1930’s when vandals removed two of the arch lintels."


  1. Enjoying the history lessons.. nice job to on the Magazine for Botetourt County’s birthday celebration.i made sure I got a copy and is in the salon for viewing.

  2. I think we saw this one while out on a hike a few years back! There are so many furnaces don't see these on the west coast(that I know of!)


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