We had some time to get outside so I looked up a
likely nearby Geocache. The
Evil Sorcerer's Castle suggested itself because it was so close,
up at Cooper's Rock, and because it looked interesting.
I got the kids fed some lunch and around 1:00 PM we
headed out. I wanted to test out the new device I bought to use
with my GPS, a
m100 to store tracks and waypoints on during trips. So I
brought it along with the cables.
We parked at the dead end and gathered our stuff up.
The boys had brought their film cameras and I my digital.
We had also brought a tripod and long lens but the
sign at the trail head said it was a 1-mile hike so we decided to leave
it behind. The hike was nice but none of us would have liked
having that big stuff to carry. We lamented forgetting our
trekking poles and resolved to store them in the Jeep from now on.
The walk was about 1/2-mile each way. The trail
was covered with fallen leaves that hid the loose rocks underneath.
So we had some tricky footing down to the furnace.
Soon we reached the furnace.
We didn't expect it to be so large. The
photographs I have seen left me thinking it was nothing more than a
large fireplace. On the contrary it is huge.
Here is the inscription on the sign nearby:
"Henry Clay Iron Furnace
Henry Clay Iron 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."
Only the blast furnace itself remains though appears
to be deteriorating enough that it will eventually cave in.
As our trip included the objective of locating the
nearby geocache, we headed out to locate it. Soon enough we had
climbed to it, located it and made our entry in the log.
We forgot our geocaching stuff so we didn't take
anything, though I did inaugurate the geocoin that ScoutingWV gave me.
We went back down to the furnace, took a few more
pictures of the outside and then, egged on by Tom, checked out the
When we came out there were some people around.
We said Hello, and then headed back to the Jeep.
I completed my experiment with the Palm m100 by
uploading the track from the GPS V to the Palm. Works great!
Here are some links I found for more info about
Cold Blast Iron Furnaces