December 4, 2022

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Hope Iron Furnace in New Plymouth, Ohio

The ruins of a long-gone iron-producing furnace located in Ohio’s Lake Hope State Park. Built in 1853-54, the furnace was responsible for turning the plethora of iron ore pulled from the area’s sandstone bedrock into usable iron. The Hope Iron Furnace required a team of hundreds of workers to help fuel the fires, move the ore to the furnace, and cut the timber required to stoke the charcoal fires.

The furnace had a unique truncated pyramid-shaped exterior with a pear-shaped interior. It was built against a hillside to be able to wheel materials to the furnace for ease of addition. At the height of its production in 1870, the furnace produced 15 tons of cast iron a day and nearly 3,000 tons of foundry iron.

By the start of the Civil War, Ohio had 69 iron blast furnaces in all and was able to produce more than 100,000 tons of iron per year, making the state one of the leading iron producers in the nation. As iron ore was discovered further west, Ohio’s position as a major iron supplier waned & many of the iron furnaces (including the Hope Furnace) shut down. Ultimately the furnace was only in service for 20 years before shutting down.

These days all that remains of the furnace is the chimney and some of the foundation, which can be observed from a fence surrounding the ruins. An Ohio Historical Marker details the short history of the furnace as well as the state’s Hanging Rock Iron Region.

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