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, sawmill, stable, granary, coal shed, blacksmith and wheelwright shop, manager’s house, one frame boardinghouse, 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 1930s when vandals removed two of the arch lintels.
[VLR Listed Only]
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VLR: Virginia Landmarks Register
NPS: National Park Service
NRHP: National Register of Historic Places
NHL: National Historic Landmark