Archived Story

Historical society planning Burlington trip

Published 12:00am Sunday, July 8, 2012

Because the history of Lawrence County has its roots in the booming iron industry of the 1800s, local historians have always taken an interest in preserving and studying the stacks, or stone, that are the remnants of the iron furnaces.

The most prominent is Vesuvius Furnace, the first hot blast furnace built in the Hanging Rock Iron Region, and easily accessible, because it is maintained by the U.S. Forest Service and is part of Lake Vesuvius State Park. Operation began there in 1837 and ended in 1905.

Less known is LaGrange Furnace, located just outside of Ironton on Lawrence Street Road. It is on private property that is beautifully maintained by the owner, Bob Holmes.

Mr. Holmes graciously hosted 18 members of the Lawrence County Historical Society at the property on June 23.

He shared what he knew of the history of the furnace, and led a walking tour of the area. As one climbs the hill behind the furnace, there is evidence of the railroad that passed through the area shipping iron back to Ironton.

Huge stone on the banks of a nearby creek showed where the train trestles once crossed Little Storms Creek.

On July 21, members of the historical society are planning another trip to historical sites in Burlington.

Of particular interest will be the role this community played as an important hub in the underground railroad in the 1800s.

Don Saunders will lead the tour and share information on the historical 37 Cemetery, and Greenlawn Cemetery where five known conductors of the Underground Railroad are buried. Burlington also has the oldest jail in Ohio.

During the month of July the museum will feature a patriotic display honoring the historical patriotism of many Lawrence County Citizens.

Also on display will be mementos of the once nationally famous Ironton Tanks Football Team.

The museum is open 1 to 4 p.m. on Friday, Saturday and Sunday and is located at 506 S. Sixth Street.

Consider spending a cool and interesting afternoon at the museum in July.


Sue Jenkins is a docent at the Lawrence County Historical Museum.

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