By Alfred L. Kresse
- 64 pages
- 100 illustrations
First published by C&OHS in 2012, this excellent book was highly acclaimed at the time and sold to a wide audience outside the C&OHS. It is now available in our DS-series of publications as a digital download, CD, or hard copy.
Author Al Kresse, a frequent contributor to C&OHS publications, tells the story of how the iron industry was so important to western Virginia in the mid-19th century. There were scores of mines and furnaces (often called forges) in operation before and in the decades following the Civil War.
Once the Virginia Central and later C&O were available for transportation the iron making of the Alleghany Highlands region expanded and major furnaces expanded or were built. During the 1890s another boom time in the industry foretold a bright future, but this soon dimmed with the recovery of ore in the western United States, and the iron era in Virginia declined and disappeared.
The book shows the remarkable industry that blossomed in the wilderness, the mines, furnaces, towns, and people who made it all work. C&O was at the heart of the industry, bringing ore to furnaces and the pig iron production away, as well as importing coal and coke from West Virginia for the furnaces.
This is an excellent treatment with many never before published photos, maps, and drawings.