Why is this site important to the history of Ohio?
Following the end of the salt making industry in Jackson County, the local economy basically revolved around agriculture. Though natural resources were abundant in our county they remained untapped.
In several isolated areas of southeastern Ohio, iron deposits had been found which resulted in limited production of iron. In the 1830's, four furnaces had been erected in Ohio with twelve more being built in the 1840's.
Buckeye Furnace is a reconstructed charcoal-fired blast furnace with an original stack. It is the only furnace in the hanging rock region from which visitors can learn and begin to understand this important industry of the late 19th century. It is one of many furnaces that were operating in Ohio’s Hanging Rock Iron Region from 1851 to 1894, with the furnace stopping production in 1916.
One of the most vital parts of the operation was a young workforce of immigrants providing the muscle to make the iron. These individuals from Germany and Ireland would work for meager wages at most of the furnace operations in the region. In several cases, many Welsh immigrants provided the manpower to do the job.
While several iron furnaces remain, Buckeye’s reconstructed furnace is the only one that, except for the trees that have grown since closing, is much as it was when it was operating.