Henry Clay Iron Furnace

Cooper’s Rock State Forest

I-68 : 10-12 miles east of Morgantown

August 2010

 

 

Located in Cooper’s Rock State Forest.  From Exit 15 on I-68 (just east of Morgantown, at the Monongalia-Preston County line), follow the signs into Cooper’s Rock State Forest.  Shortly after entering the first gate, there will be a small sign to the right for the Henry Clay Furnace.  Follow FR 801 about 3 or 4 miles to the very end.  There is a circular parking lot, and the Historical Marker is located at the trailhead. It is about a 1-mile hike back to the furnace.  Slight-moderate grade downhill going to the furnace, and it’s all uphill coming back.  Bring your own drinking water.  There are no bathroom facilities.

 

 

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Historical Marker is located at the trailhead.

 

 

 

 

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Closeup of the Historical Marker. 

(Note different spelling of “Ellicott” compared to the sign by the furnace)

 

 

 

 

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Nice trail leading to the furnace.  Near the trailhead, it is a little steeper and rocky. 

You will have a hard time getting a baby stroller down here. 

 

 

 

 

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First sight of the furnace as the trail loops around it.

 

 

 

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Here’s a photo with me in it for scale.

 

 

 

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Wooden plaque near the furnace.

 

Text reads:

 

Henry Clay Iron Furnace

Henry Clay Furnace, located on Quarry Run, was built between 1834 and 1836 by Leonard Lamb for Tassey and Bissell.  It was a coldblast furnace and produced 4 tons of pig iron each 24 hours.  It was one of several furnaces that were operated in this area during the nineteenth century and was used until about 1847.

 

About 200 people were employed at the furnace.  It was the center of the community of over a hundred dwellings with a store, church, and schoolhouse.

 

Ownership of the furnace was conveyed in 1839 to the Ellicotts, who built a system of wooden-railed tramways that ran through the mountains connecting the furnaces and ore pits.  Until 1845, all of the iron produced was floated down the Cheat River.

 

The pattern of industrial development is constantly changing.  The iron industry cycle on Cheat Mountain is now complete. 

 

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This is a nice afternoon ride/hike destination.  Be sure to allow time to go up to Cooper’s Rock

 and enjoy the overlook and gift shop. 

 

For more information on Cooper’s Rock and other WV State Forests:

 

http://www.coopersrockstateforest.com/ 

 

 

Enjoy your visit! 

 

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