From the early 1820s to the 1880s, and iron smelting business here took advantage of the rushing waters of Gap Creek. Today only the creek and part of the original 30-foot-high stone tower remain, a small part of an industrial complex of buildings, slag heaps, and machinery then called the Newlee Iron Furnace.
All the ingredients needed to make iron were nearby: iron-ore deposits close the the surface, limestone, abundant firewood to be make into charcoal for fuel, and waterpower to run the air bellows and a massive hammer mill. Some iron made here was sold to local blacksmiths. Some of the 150-pound ingots or "pigs" were shipped down the Powell River to Chattanooga, Tennessee.