By Emmett A. Conway, Sr., The Olde Forester
Location: Logan, Ohio
Dates: 1852 -
Condition: No structures. Only bluff below which the stack and buildings once stood plus plenty of glassy waste slag or cinders buried in the lawn.
"Only the streets remember," said the farmer in the Black Forest village of Waldkirk, Germany, in 1978 when we asked if there had ever been charcoal iron blast furnaces in the village.
Who could have believed that flat Logan, Ohio, would have had a suitable location for an iron furnace in 1852 when such a furnace requires a bluff and large level area above the stone stack from which to bridge out to the charging hole. Admittedly, The Olde Forester searched all around the outskirts of Logan before spotting Furnace Street on the west edge of town beside the grade school on Hunter Street. Could that be the location?
Portion of Map of Logan, Ohio, on page 32 of Atlas of Hocking County, Ohio, 1876, by Titus, Simmons, and Titus.
Atlas reprinted 1975 by The Hocking County Historical Society.
Turning out of an alley leading to a mobile home, I spotted a drop-off of the right height. Lo and behold, I sighted a remnant piece of cut sandstone used as a stepping stone, probably the only one left from the furnace buildings. The bluff fit the height of the Logan Furnace stack, 29 ft., being shorter than usual. Statistics are given in the 1884 Report of the Geological Survey of Ohio, Volume V, Economic Geology.
Logan Furnace when operating would have looked like this picture of Richland Furnace in Vinton County west of Hamden, Ohio. Buildings would have extended north to Hunter Street and the casting building with the vented roof below to the edge of the Hocking Canal. The building with steam emitting would have been the engine house with “blowing tubs” to produce the blast into the twyer at the base of the stack.
This section of Logan would have been a bustle of activity with oxen, mules and horse-drawn wagons bringing charcoal from the woods, ore (“He worked at raising ore” was said of one Hocking County farmer), and limestone from the quarries. Employment at these furnaces was from 300 to 500 men. The product, pig iron, might have been loaded directly onto canal boats or taken to a foundry on “Iron Street." We wonder....
Mrs. Monobelle Cottrill, 580 Henrietta Street, Logan, Ohio, has her home over the old Hocking Canal and her flower bed where the blast furnace casting shed once stood. She has had slivers of blast furnace glassy slag in her fingers from working in her flower bed. Her neighbor, Mary Jane Stofcheck shares the clean and clear back yard where smoke, dust and grime once rolled from the iron blast furnace. When The Olde Forester talked to these ladies last summer, Monobelle was preparing to make sauerkraut with the help of her daughter. We doubt that the sauerkraut would have aroused the EPA as would have the operating of Logan Furnace.
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