New bridge construction digs up artifacts from Grant Furnace

On July 1, 2013, accompanied by a worker from the Ohio Department of Transportation, I was able to visit the construction site of the new Ironton-Russell bridge, which is also the site of WD Kelly’s 1868 Grant Furnace. I thought it would be hard to find any artifacts but, due to a lot of bulldozing, there were plenty of bricks, slag and melted iron to be collected. One of the bricks covered in iron is on display at the Lawrence County Historical Museum in Ironton. – Nicole Cox


1877 Ironton Map showing Grant Furnace
Same location in 2013….new Ironton-Russell bridge approach is being constructed here.

Bridge construction from the furnace site
Misc bricks, slag and iron were found along the river bank at the Grant Furnace site



Ironton Register, March 4, 1869 – GRANT FURNACE – Today Gen. Grant takes his seat. Today Messrs. Kelly & Sons have named their new Furnace, about which there has been so much talk of late. They have not yet decided as to the exact location, as the Council will not act on their petition till this evening. But should the City council not vacate the streets and alleys prayed for, they will build between Fourth and Fifth-sts., just above Mr. Kelly’s residence. They have about eighty laborers employed chopping wood, getting out the timber and stone, digging ore, &c., and intend to commence work on the foundation of the stack next week, if the weather is favorable. They expect to make cold blast charcoal iron. The firm name will be W. D. KELLY & SONS, Grant Furnace, Ironton, Ohio.