Bullitt County History

Iron Furnaces

In 1859, J. P. Lesley, Secretary of the American Iron Association, published a volume titled, The Iron Manufacturer's Guide to the Furnaces, Forges and Rolling Mills of the United States. In it, on page 127, he briefly described two furnaces in Bullitt County. His text is transcribed below.

546. Belmont Steam Hot-blast Charcoal Furnace, owned by J. B. Alexander & Co. of Louisville and managed by W. Patterson of Belmont Furnace P.O. Bullitt county Kentucky, stands twenty-six miles south of Louisville, was built in 1844, rebuilt in 1853, and bought with the two furnaces next to be described by its present owners in March 1858, is 10 feet wide across the top of the bosh by 33 feet high inside, and made in six months of 1857 1,140 tons of machinery and mill iron out of carbonate ores, abundant in the grey or ash colored shales [of Formation VIII.] overlying the black Devonian slate [Formation VIII.] in the southwest part of the range of the knobs of Bullitt, extending along the waters of Cane river south-eastwardly into Nelson county, and therefore identical with the perculiar ores of Huntingdon county Pennsylvania above No. VII. or the Oriskany Sandstone.

547. Salt River Steam Cold-blast Charcoal Furnace, owned by the same as and situated three miles to the northwest of Belmont Furnace last described, and one mile from the Louisville and Nashville railroad, was built earlier (in 1832), is of the same size and used the same ore until it stopped finally in 1853. It made a tough forge iron.

In 1884 the American Iron and Steel Association published a Directory to the Iron and Steel Works of the United States. In it, on page 78 under "Recently Abandoned Furnaces," is listed "Belmont Furnace, Bank of Louisville, Louisville. Furnace in Bullitt County. Built in 1844; daily capacity, 12 net tons; idle since 1870."

Below is an image insert from Google showing the location of the Belmont furnace historical marker (A), and its actual location (B). You can use the arrows in the upper left corner to move the image, or use the plus and minus signs to zoom in or out. You may also put the cursor on the map and drag the image to where you want it. This map may not work for you if you are using an older browser.

[Here is a link to a slide show of photos taken at the Belmont Furnace.]

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The Bullitt County History Museum, a service of the Bullitt County Genealogical Society, is located in the county courthouse at 300 South Buckman Street (Highway 61) in Shepherdsville, Kentucky. The museum, along with its research room, is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Saturday appointments are available by calling 502-921-0161 during our regular weekday hours. Admission is free. The museum, as part of the Bullitt County Genealogical Society, is a 501(c)3 tax exempt organization and is classified as a 509(a)2 public charity. Contributions and bequests are deductible under section 2055, 2106, or 2522 of the Internal Revenue Code. Page last modified: 12 Jan 2024 . Page URL: bullittcountyhistory.org/bchistory/ironfurnaces.html