Monday, January 26, 2015
Davis Motor Sales banner ad
Posted on 2/2/14

HOPKINS COUNTY, KY—For this week’s installment of Off the Beaten Path, iSurf News would like to present a well-hidden landmark that outdoors lovers, historians, adventure seekers, and curious locals can all appreciate: Airdrie Furnace.

Located in Muhlenberg County on a section of untamed shoreline adjacent to the mighty Green River, the Airdrie Furnace stands as a quiet testament to mid 19th Century engineering. In addition, the remains of the forest-bound historic site looks like something straight out of an Indiana Jones flick. What’s more is that the site carries behind it a history that is well worth regional interest.

The hand-built furnace tower was erected in 1855 by Sir Robert Alexander, a Kentucky-born descendant of a titled Scottish family. At a young age, Alexander purchased around 17,000 acres of land stretching along the Green River where a hefty deposit of native iron had previously been discovered. Soon afterward, Alexander employed the services of several miners and furnace workers from his family’s native Scottish lands in an attempt to develop the area. After their arrival, Alexander and his crew, which has been reported to include a number of prison workers, constructed houses for the workers as well as the approximately 70 foot tall iron-shell stack. In addition, the workers built a three-story sandstone structure made for housing furnace blast machinery and rolling mills. This housing structure still stands adjacent to the tower today and clearly displays an imprinted stone on its façade, which reads, “Airdrie: 1855.”

However, after a number of failed efforts to keep the furnace in operation, as well as an overall loss of approximately $300,000, the project and village of Airdrie (which was named after the Alexander’s Scottish homeland) were completely abandoned by Alexander and his men within a short span of just a few years.

Interestingly enough, not one single pound of salable iron was ever produced from the furnace due to the fact that the native iron ore of Kentucky required a metallurgical treatment that was unfamiliar to the Scottish iron workers.

From old-world archways, a three-story set of hand-laid stone steps, as well as the furnace tower and machinery building, visiting the now overgrown and long-abandoned structures is truly awe-inspiring.

In addition to the included photos and brief historical background, well-known local author, Lisa D. Piper, has recently released a historical fiction novel based on the area, its history, and some of the people involved. The book is entitled, “One Mile Below Paradise,” which is partially in reference to a once neighboring town to Airdrie actually called Paradise, and is now available for purchase. To purchase a copy of the book, visit The novel will soon be available at Readmore Bookstore in Madisonville’s Parkway Plaza Mall as well.   

Luke Short
iSurf News
Historical information provided by and

Click on the slide-show player below for more pictures iSurf reporters captured while visiting the historic Airdrie Furnace site.





© Copyright 2015 SurfKY News Group, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, or rewritten without permission. SurfKY News encourages you to share this story by using one of the social media links below.

2/6/2014 - posted
3/13 - 16
Started 11/8/2013
Started 11/8/2013
2/6/2014 - posted
3/13 - 16
Started 11/8/2013
Started 11/8/2013

Most Read This Week

January 19, 2015 8994

Two-Year-Old Child Dies after Being Struck by…

in Top News For All Sites by Paul Ray
January 19, 2015 8869

UPDATE - Lady Mustangs Fall to South Warren

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Steve LeMaster
January 23, 2015 7558

Local Church's Faith Restored; 71 Souls Saved…

in Video by Gary Gates, SurfKY News
January 22, 2015 6808

Nortonville Man Accused of Selling Drugs near…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Madisonville Police Department/Hopkins County Jail
January 20, 2015 6697

Bridal, Prom, Pageant Expo Planned for February…

in Hopkins News by Dana Brown
January 23, 2015 5387

Parents Face Charges after Marijuana Joint Falls…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Madisonville Police Department/Hopkins County Jail
January 21, 2015 5307

KYDOT Pre-Treating Roads Thursday in Antipation…

in Top News For All Sites by Keith Todd
January 22, 2015 4732

MCEA Head: Further School Mergers Might Ease…

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Paul McRee, SurfKY News

Most Read This Month

January 08, 2015 20347

Woman Claiming to be 'Lady Gaga' Tours Town in…

in Top News For All Sites by Madisonville Police Department
January 15, 2015 19964

UPDATE: Fatality Victim's Name Officially Released

in Top News For All Sites by Doreen Dennis, SurfKY News

Stories Trending Today

January 25, 2015 2439

Dean’s List Announced

in Top News For All Sites Touching Hopkins by Joyce Riggs
January 23, 2015 2166

School Board Hears Public Comments Regarding…

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Charles W. Riley II, SurfKY News
January 24, 2015 1768

Five Injured in Two-Vehicle Collision

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Chris E. King
January 24, 2015 1465

Happenings, Meetings Listed for Hopkins County

in Hopkins News by Amber Averitt, SurfKY News
January 25, 2015 1426

UPDATE: Two Die, Two Injured in Two-Vehicle…

in Local (Owensboro) Top News by Dispatcher Dustin Staves
January 24, 2015 1383

Kentucky 2014 Highway Fatality Figures Released

in General News For All Sites by Keith Todd
January 24, 2015 1381

PSC Bars $54 Million in Kentucky Power Fuel Cost…

in General News For All Sites by Andrew Melnykovych
January 24, 2015 1297

Keeping the Faith - 'What It's Good For'

in General News For All Sites by Ronnie McBrayer
January 24, 2015 1212

Busting the Myths of Leadership

in General News For All Sites by David Taylor
January 24, 2015 1161

Spelling Bee Contest Winners Announced

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Joyce Riggs
January 24, 2015 1142

Hooked on Science - Feather Balance

in General News For All Sites by Jason Lindsey
January 24, 2015 969

Burrough: Tech Center Construction on Schedule

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Tammy Holloway, SurfKY News