It's obvious (once you think about it) that any territory has a technological history, that its landscape is a palimpsest of past and present activities, structures, enterprises, transformations. Arraying landscapes of the past and studying the processes of their development into the visible landscape of the present should interest lots of people, including local history buffs, schoolteachers, archivists, professors in various disciplines, and probably local officals as well. The web offers a medium for display and delivery, and projects undertaken by local individuals and groups can be linked into the broader patterns of regions and states --all that's needed is for somebody to start, with the provision of such basic tools as maps, images and descriptive data.
Rockbridge County: well, there's the McCormick Reaper, there's the canals on the Maury and James Rivers, there's a history of electrification, there's railroads, there's industries that have flourished and failed, there's mining and logging, there's road building... and that's just a beginning.
From One hundred historic sites and structures in Rockbridge County (a 1979 map, Leyburn-Spec Coll-Rare F232.R68 O74):
Vaughan called my attention to this book:
- 6. Alone Bridge
Road 622 crosses the Maury River on this camelback bridge which is 227 feet long and includes a pony truss. Built in 1908, it is one of the oldest surviving camelback bridges in the Valley.
- 7. Ben Salem Boat Lock
Just off US 60, 4 miles east of Lexington. The Ben Salem Wayside features the sturdy masonry of this old lock, one of nine lift locks on the 29-mile North River Navigation Canal System from the James River to Lexington, completed in 1860. Only a line of rubble remains to mark the location of the Ben Salem dam.
- 8. Collierstown Bridge
Road 644 crosses Coliers Creek on this Pratt-type bridge which has a 104-foot span. Its date has not been ascertained.
- 9. Goshen Bridge
Road 746 crosses the Calfpasture River on this Pratt-type bridge built in 1890 for the Goshen Land and Improvement Company... This bridge has two spans of 138 feet 10 inches and 120 feet 10 inches. It is the oldest surviving metal truss bridge of the Pratt type in the County and is a Registered Virginia Landmark.
- 10. Kerrs Creek Bridge
Road 602 crosses Kerrs Creek on this Pratt-type bridge. Built in 1913, it has a span of 92 feet.
- 41. Buena Vista Furnace
On 608, near junction with 631. Built by Samuel F. and B.J. Jordan in 1847-48. Burned in 1864 by Union forces under General Hunter. Cannon balls made here are said to have been used in the Mexican War Battle of Buena Vista, for which the furnace and the nearby city of Buena Vista were named.
- 42. Bath Iron Works
On 39, at west end of Goshen Pass. Built in the 1820s by Doyle and Weaver, its construction and operation are probably better documented than that of any other iron operation in Rockbridge County. Ruins are visible, the mill race can be traced, and many foundations can be seen. The furnace, however, has been demolished.
- 43. Glenwood Furnace
On 759, about 1.2 miles south of the James River. Built in 1849 and destroyed by Union forces in 1864, its owner, Francis T. Anderson, had connections with the Tredegar Iron Works in Richmond and much of its output went there during the Civil War. Restored and now maintained by the Jefferson National Forest, this furnace is in the best condition of any in the County.
- 88. Beatty's Mill
On US 60, west of junction with 641. On Whistle Creek. It is said to be the site of a mill built in 1750 by James Hook. The present building has been used as a chicken brooder.
- 89. Brady's Mill
On 608, just south of 700. On Falling Spring branch of Buffalo Creek. It was built about 1845 by William Weaver and later altered to use a larger mill wheel. The stone walls are still standing, but the mill has deteriorated and is unsuitable for visitors.
- 90. Furr's Mill
On 631, about one mile west of US 11. On Maury River. The first mill on this site was built in 1830 by Alfred Leyburn. It was last used in 1962.
- 91. Hays Creek Mill
On 724, west of 726. On Hays Creek. Operated by William Steele in 1760. Parts of the existing mill may be that old; other parts date from 1838. It was last used in 1957.
- 92. Kennedy-McCray Mill
On 602, at Zack. On Walkers Creek. The original mill on this site was built in 1808 by Andrew Kennedy.
- 93. Kennedy-Wade Mill
On 606. On Kennedy's (Ott's) Creek. It was built about 1800 by Andrew Kennedy, and is a Registered Virginia Landmark. The stone and frame structure is in good condition and among the best remaining examples of Rockbridge County mills.
- 94. McCormick Mill
On 606, at the McCormick Farm. On a branch of Marl Creek. The mill was built before 1760 and has been completely reconstructed to provide visitors with an authentic example of a country mill.
- 95. Miller's Mill
On US 60, just west of junction with 627. On Kerr's Creek. This mill is thought to date back to 1816. The mill wheel is of a much later date.
- 96. Oceola Mill
On 56, in Vesuvius. On Marl Creek. Built in 1878, the mill has now been made into a residence.
- 97. Painter's Mill
On 251, west of Effinger. On Colliers Creek. There is no firm date of construction. It is now Clemmer's Store.
- 98. Red Mill
On 609. On Cedar Creek. This mill was built by William Poage, c.1765. It was sold to William McClanahan (1768) and then to Hugh Barclay (1770), who painted the structure red and thus gave it a distinctive character in this area.
- 99. Roger's Mill
On 608, near junction with 631. On South River. It was built by Samuel Jordan in 1845-1850, and last operated in the 1920s. The stone building has been remodelled into a house...
- 100. Wade-McCaleb Mill
On 251, at junction with 644. On Colliers Creek. The original mill was built by John Collier in 1779. The present mill was built in the 1920s and damaged in the 1976 flood.
AUTHOR Dew, Charles B. TITLE Bond of iron : master and slave at Buffalo Forge / Charles B. Dew. PUBLISHER New York : W.W. Norton, 1994. SUBJECT Buffalo Forge (Va.) -- History. Weaver, William, 1780-1863. Slave labor -- Virginia -- Lexington Region. Slaves -- Virginia -- Lexington Region -- Social conditions. Leyburn Library F234.B89 D48 1994This source has very extensive descriptions of the operations and management of Buffalo Forge and attendant blast furnaces. I've made some extracts to summarize the technical details of making iron. See also Slavery in Ante-Bellum Southern Industries on mining and metal industries and another section on railroads and canals, both by Dew. Compare also Vestal's Bloomery (Jefferson County, West Virginia), which describes an earlier operation of William Mayberry.
And there's more on iron in general on other pages.
When I asked Ed Spencer who had done economic geology of Rockbridge County, he said "Matthew Fontaine Maury"... Here are a few items for further study (though I haven't been able to find what I think Ed was referring to):
AUTHOR Hotchkiss, Jedediah, 1828-1899. TITLE A description of the Elizabeth Furnace Iron Property, Augusta County, Virginia, belonging to Forrer & Forrers, with maps and geological section, by Jed Hotchkiss ... and a report by M.F. Maury .. PUBLISHER Washington, D.C., McGill & Witherow, Printers, 1869. DESCRIPT 28 p. front. (fold. map) 23 cm. SUBJECT Iron ores -- Virginia -- Augusta County. Geology -- Virginia -- Augusta County. ADD AUTHOR Maury, Matthew Fontaine, 1806-1873. Leyburn-Spec Coll-Rare TN403.Z6 E4 AUTHOR Maury, Matthew Fontaine, 1806-1873. TITLE Physical survey of Virginia : Her resources, climate and production / Preliminary report. No. II. By M. F. Maury. With notes and additions by his son. July 1, 1877. PUBLISHER Richmond : N. V. Randolph, 1878. DESCRIPT 142 p., 1 l. : col. fold. front. ; 24 cm. NOTE "Published by direction of the Board of Immigration [of Virginia]" "Note" at end signed: Richard L. Maury. With: Physical survey of Virginia. Her geographical... / M. F. Maury. New York : D. Van Nostrand, 1869. SUBJECT Virginia -- Description and travel. Leyburn-Franklin Soc. F231 .M451 AUTHOR Campbell, J. L. (John Lyle), 1818-1886. TITLE Report on the Buena Vista farm and mineral lands and the Amherst furnace property / by J.L. and H.D. Campbell. Nov., 1885. PUBLISHER Lynchville, Va. : J.P. Bell, 1885. DESCRIPT 16 p. : fold. map, tables, diagr. ; 23 cm. NOTE Caption title: A report on the farm, the mineral lands, and the Amherst furnace property, all belonging to the estate of the late Samuel F. Jordan. SUBJECT Geology -- Virginia -- Rockbridge County -- Surveys. Mines and mineral resources -- Virginia -- Buena Vista. Mines and mineral resources -- Virginia -- Amherst County. Leyburn-Archives FACULTY PUBLICATIONS
Another source for canal and other stuff:
AUTHOR Virginia Canals and Navigations Society. TITLE The Maury River atlas : nineteenth-century inland navigations of the Virginias / a Virginia Canals & Navigations Society river atlas project. PUBLISHER [Lexington, Va.] : The Society, [c1991] DESCRIPT 25 p. : ill., maps ; 23 x 36 cm. SUBJECT Maury River (Va.) -- Description and travel -- Maps. Maury River (Va.) -- Navigation. Historic sites -- Virginia -- Rockbridge County -- Maps. Leyburn Library FOLIO F232.M37 V5 1991This source includes a densely-packed page of information on "Iron in Rockbridge" with a map of furnaces and forges, with their dates:
Virginia Canal and Navigations Society home page
One of the 'standard works':
AUTHOR Morton, Oren Frederic, 1857-1926. TITLE A history of Rockbridge County, Virginia / by Oren F. Morton. PUBLISHER Baltimore : Reprinted for Clearfield Company by Genealogical Publishing, 1994. DESCRIPT 574 p. : ill. ; 22 cm. NOTE Reprint of the 1920 ed. published by McClure Co., Staunton, Va. Includes index. SUBJECT Rockbridge County (Va.) -- History. Leyburn Library F232.R68 M9 1994
And while we're at it, here's a link to a glossary of archaeometallurgy terms
There's also a thesis worth taking a look at in these connections:
AUTHOR Bradford, Samuel Sydney, 1922- TITLE The ante-bellum charcoal iron industry of Virginia / by Samuel Sydney Bradford. PUBLISHER 1978. DESCRIPT iv, 200 l. : ill. NOTE Thesis (Ph.D)--Columbia University, 1958. SUBJECT Iron industry and trade -- Virginia. Leyburn-Spec Coll-Rare HD9517.V8 B79 1994and another, more general:
TITLE Iron and steel in the nineteenth century / edited by Paul F. Paskoff. PUBLISHER New York : Facts on File, c1989. SUBJECT Iron industry and trade. Steel industry and trade. Iron industry and trade -- United States -- History -- 19th century. Leyburn Library HD9510.4 .I71 1989and
AUTHOR Salmon, John S., 1948- TITLE The Washington Iron Works of Franklin County, Virginia, 1773-1850 PUBLISHER Richmond : Virginia State Library, 1986. DESCRIPT ix, 82 p. : ill. ; 26 cm. SUBJECT Iron industry and trade -- Virginia -- Franklin County -- History. Washington Iron Works -- History. Leyburn-Spec Coll-Rare HD9517.V52 S25 1986and this seems like an excellent general summary:
AUTHOR Gordon, Robert B. (Robert Boyd), 1929- TITLE American iron, 1607-1900 / Robert B. Gordon. PUBLISHER Baltimore, Md. : Johns Hopkins University Press, c1996. SUBJECT Iron-works -- North America -- History -- 18th century. Iron-works -- North America -- History -- 19th century. Iron -- Metallurgy -- History -- 18th century. Iron -- Metallurgy -- History -- 19th century. Science Library TN704.N5 G67 1996
This source looks worth exploring:
TITLE The Virginias. LIB. HAS W&L 1-6 1880-1885. IMPRINT Staunton, Virginia : Jed. Hotchkiss, editor and proprietor, DESCRIPT v. : ill. ; 35 cm. Monthly. Vol. 1 (1880) - v.6 (1885) NOTE "A mining, industrial and scientific journal : devoted to the development of Virginia and West Virginia." Description based on: Vol. 2, no. 1 (Jan. 1881); title from caption. Merged into Industrial south, Richmond, Va. SUBJECT Virginia -- Economic conditions -- Periodicals. CONT'D BY Industrial south (Richmond, Va.) 1 > Leyburn-Spec Coll-Rare FOLIO HC107.A13 A4 v. 1 LIB USE ONLY 2 > Leyburn-Spec Coll-Rare FOLIO HC107.A13 A4 v. 1 c.2 LIB USE ONLY 3 > Leyburn-Spec Coll-Rare FOLIO HC107.A13 A4 v. 1 c.3 LIB USE ONLY 4 > Leyburn-Spec Coll-Rare FOLIO HC107.A13 A4 v. 2 LIB USE ONLY 5 > Leyburn-Spec Coll-Rare FOLIO HC107.A13 A4 v. 3 LIB USE ONLY 6 > Leyburn-Spec Coll-Rare FOLIO HC107.A13 A4 v. 4 LIB USE ONLY 7 > Leyburn-Spec Coll-Rare FOLIO HC107.A13 A4 v. 5 LIB USE ONLY 8 > Leyburn-Spec Coll-Rare FOLIO HC107.A13 A4 v. 6 LIB USE ONLY