Great Western Furnace

Great Western Furnace (HM2ITT)

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N 36° 38.438', W 87° 58.538'

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Stewart County Iron Industry 1820-1927

For more than a century Stewart County, Tennessee, was an active industrial iron producer in an agricultural south. The ruins of this limestone slab furnace are all that is left of the Great Western Iron Works, once one of eighteen such iron manufacturing centers in the county. The Great Western operated for just one 34-week period in 1855-56. During that time it produced 1,350 tons of high-quality iron.

Several circumstances contributed to its short life. The furnace owners, William E. Newell and John H. Pritchett, were heavily in debt over the purchase of 9,957 acres of land, acquired for the ore and timber needed to produce iron. Mismanagement, limited sources for iron ore, and a nationwide economic recession all made the furnace a doomed enterprise.

The Great Western Iron Works was offered for sale by its owners, December 20, 1856, in the Clarksville Jeffersonian newspaper.

"...furnace, 8 wood slides, 4 yokes of oxen, 12 wagons and gear, 1 set of carpenters tools, 1 set of blacksmiths tools, 2 extra steam engines 1 grist mill, 8 horse carts and harnesses, and 80 likely and valuable Negro men, experienced furnace hands."

Charcoal, hematite ore and limestone needed to make iron were carted by hand over the bridge and dumped into the ore box.

Great Western Furnace was



ten feet wide by forty feet high inside.

Temperatures in the ore box reached 3000 F

Once the ore was melted, a plug was removed at the bottom of the ore box, and the molten iron flowed into sand moulds to cool.

Stem pumps powered a set of bellows that provided the blast of air needed for the fire to reach 3000 F - hot enough to melt the ore.
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HM NumberHM2ITT
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Date Added Tuesday, July 16th, 2019 at 11:01pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)16S E 412783 N 4055451
Decimal Degrees36.64063333, -87.97563333
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 36° 38.438', W 87° 58.538'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds36° 38' 26.28" N, 87° 58' 32.28" W
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Which side of the road?Marker is on the right when traveling North
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