Iron Furnace Overlook Historical

Iron Furnace Overlook Historical (HM1WME)

Location: Richmond, VA 23234 Chesterfield County
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Country: United States of America
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N 37° 26.283', W 77° 26.277'

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—Falling Creek Ironworks Park —

This is the location of the first iron furnace established in the New World, started in 1619 and completed in 1622. Iron ore had been extracted from James River outcrops as early as 1608, and these samples were shipped to England. The Virginia Company of London had aspirations of expanding trade, exploiting the natural resources of this region and establishing the first system of private land ownership.

The ironworks were to be the first in the Western Hemisphere to smelt iron ore into pig iron. It was the beginning of American heavy industry. The location for the iron furnace at Falling Creek was chosen due to the 10-foot-high head of water and its abundance. In 1619, Captain Benjamin Bluett led an expedition of 150 men under commission of the Virginia Company to establish a full scale iron smelting works. Bluett died shortly after arrival. A large number of the workers also succumbed to the harsh conditions.

In 1621, a second expedition was organized and led by iron-master John Berkeley. Berkeley, along with his son Maurice and 22 workers, including an apothecary, were tasked to "Finish the ironworks and begin production." Berkeley wrote that he would have a plentiful supply of iron by "Whitsuntide next" (June 1622).

However, on March 22, 1622, Chief Opechancanough of the Powhatan
Nation executed a carefully planned attack on all the European settlements along the James River, killing every worker at Falling Creek, destroying machinery and leaving the works in ruins.

In 1750, Archibald Cary established the Chesterfield Forge to produce bar iron from pig iron on the same site. His operation was shut down and then reopened for the Revolutionary War. Benedict Arnold destroyed it in 1781.

Furnace views
Painting by Sydney King depicting the 1622 Good Friday Massacre at Falling Creek Ironworks
Year Placed2016
Placed ByFalling Creek Ironworks Foundation, Chesterfield Heritage Alliance
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Thursday, January 26th, 2017 at 9:02am PST -08:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18S E 284314 N 4146258
Decimal Degrees37.43805000, -77.43795000
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 37° 26.283', W 77° 26.277'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds37° 26' 16.98" N, 77° 26' 16.62" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)804
Which side of the road?Marker is on the right when traveling North
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 6407 Jefferson Davis Hwy, Richmond VA 23234, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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