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 www.lisapiper.com. 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 www.oldindustry.org and www.waymarking.com.

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

 

 

 



 

e-max.it: your social media marketing partner

LIKE SurfKY on Facebook - Click here to LIKE us now.

© 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 on social media.

Posted on 2/2/14
3/13 - 16
3/13 - 16

Most Read This Week

September 04, 2015 21396

UPDATE: Attack on WKP Never Happened, Say Police

by SurfKY News
August 31, 2015 6944

Man Convicted of Hopkins Countian's Death Granted…

by Doreen Dennis, SurfKY News
September 02, 2015 6300

Madisonville Gaining Two New Businesses

by Ron Sanders
August 30, 2015 4095

UPDATED: 'He Fought the Law ... but, the Law Won'

by Doreen Dennis, SurfKY News
September 02, 2015 3589

Investigation Leads to Meth Trafficking Charge

by SurfKY News

Most Read This Month

September 04, 2015 21396

UPDATE: Attack on WKP Never Happened, Say Police

by SurfKY News
August 24, 2015 12530

Teen Reports Slasher Attempted to Attack Him on…

by Doreen Dennis, SurfKY News

Stories Trending Now

September 04, 2015 21396

UPDATE: Attack on WKP Never Happened, Say Police

by SurfKY News
September 04, 2015 2231

Man Charged with Kidnapping 8-Year-Old Girl

by SurfKY News
September 04, 2015 987

Hopkins County Health Department Food Scores Thru…

by SurfKY News
September 04, 2015 872

Madisonville Police Arrest Reports Released -…

by SurfKY News
September 04, 2015 859

Madisonville Christens New $1.1M Ladder Truck

by Doreen Dennis, SurfKY News
September 04, 2015 835

Franklin Graham Offers Opinion on Kim Davis Case

by SurfKY News
September 04, 2015 772

Hopkins County Sheriff's Reports Released

by SurfKY News
September 04, 2015 760

Henderson, Paducah, Owensboro, Madisonville…

by SurfKY News
September 04, 2015 715

Owensboro Air Show, Century Aluminum Announce…

by SurfKY News
September 04, 2015 685

Harmful Algal Bloom Recreational Advisory Issued

by SurfKY News