Pick Your Community: | Hopkins | Muhlenberg | Daviess | Christian | Henderson | Lakes | McCracken | Webster
Davis Motor Sales banner ad

Off the Beaten Path: Airdrie Iron Furnace

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.

 

 

 



 

© Copyright 2014 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.

Posted on 2/2/14
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
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

October 17, 2014 11535

UK Women's Soccer Welcomes Ole Miss, No. 5/4…

in General Sports For All Sites by UK Athletics
October 20, 2014 4258

Uncle Lee's in Greenville is Closing Its Doors…

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by www.unclelees.com
October 15, 2014 3599

Family Business, Graphics Pros to Open Friday

in Top News For All Sites by Shawn Freels
October 15, 2014 3448

Chamber Meeting and More Announced

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Dorothy Walker
October 17, 2014 3347

Single Vehicle Collision Results in One Injury

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Trooper S. C. Recke
October 15, 2014 3246

Madisonville Police Arrest Reports - Oct. 15, 2014

in Hopkins News by Madisonville Police Department
October 19, 2014 3204

Kentucky Energy Department Releases Virtual Solar…

in General News For All Sites by Dick Brown
October 15, 2014 2886

Woman Arrested for Domestic Dispute in the Street

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Madisonville Police Department
October 17, 2014 2647

Woman Arrested at Taco Bell for DUI

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Madisonville Police Department
October 16, 2014 2566

Madisonville Police Arrest Reports - Oct. 16, 2014

in Hopkins News by Madisonville Police Department

Stories Trending Today

October 20, 2014 4258

Uncle Lee's in Greenville is Closing Its Doors…

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by www.unclelees.com
October 20, 2014 2334

Man Charged for Assaulting Pregnant Wife

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Madisonville Police Department
October 20, 2014 1689

Man Arrested for Shoplifting, Assaulting Police…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Madisonville Police Department
October 20, 2014 1397

Hopkins County Sheriff's Arrest Reports Released

in Hopkins News by Sheila Hopper
October 20, 2014 1315

Madisonville Police Arrest Reports - Oct. 20, 2014

in Hopkins News by Madisonville Police Department
October 20, 2014 1292

Paul Simon Headlines COPD Tribute for Phil Everly

in Top News For All Sites by Paul McRee, SurfKY News
October 20, 2014 1272

Muhlenberg Community Hospital Prepares for…

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Erin Warren
October 21, 2014 1243

UPDATE: Pedestrian Struck by Vehicle on Shamrock…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Officer C.P. Haynie
October 20, 2014 1179

KU and LG&E to Fund Qualified Tree-Planting…

in General News For All Sites by Cliff Feltham
October 20, 2014 1071

Fall Frolic at Nature Station

in Lakes News by Land Between The Lakes

SurfKY News Group, Inc.
1125 Nebo Rd.  •  Madisonville, KY 42431
270.452.2727 (phone)
  •  270.452.2249 (fax)


Contact a member of our staff: www.surfky.com/contact
Copyright © 2014 SurfKY News Group, Inc.  •  Terms of Use  •  Site Map

social fbsocial twsocial yt
social gpsocial flrsocial rss