November 28, 2008

Cows at Liberty Furnace

We were driving along route 717 in western Shenandoah County a few months ago when we saw cattle grazing at Liberty Furnace. It's a charming location so we stopped the car and took a couple of pictures.

Liberty Furnace, now privately owned, was the site of an iron ore operation in the 19th century. According to a Forest Service article, " there were several essentials for the location of a furnace found in the Valley -- an adequate supply of iron ore and limestone, sufficient waterpower to turn a water wheel that operated a bellows for the fire, and an abundance of timber for charcoal that was the fuel for smelting the iron ore." The article also tells us that Liberty Furnace was burned (but not totally destroyed) during the Civil War. Nearby Columbia Furnace was burned three times by Union forces!

Liberty Furnace is on the side of Great North Mountain between Wolf Gap Road and Jerome. I included it on a Basye area tour map last year.

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