Grant Furnace

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 Grant Furnace was built in 1869 by W. D. Kelly & Sons, who also operated Center Furnace.  In 1869 W. D. Kelly built Grant Furnace in Ironton, operated under the firm name of W. D. Kelly & Sons and operated for some years.

New bridge construction digs up artifacts from Grant Furnace
Submitted by: Nicole Cox

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.

 Ironton Register, MAR. 4, 1869
Grant Furnace. – To-day Gen. Grant takes his seat.  To-day 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 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.

Ironton Register, Nov. 26, 1868
W. D. Kelly intends to erect, during the coming Winter or Spring, a new charcoal furnace either in or adjacent to the city.  It is proposed to be a cold blast furnace and will be supplied with charcoal from up the river.

Ironton Register Mar. 25, 1869
Grant Furnace. – The ground for Mr. Kelly’s new furnace will be broken next week, and the work pushed vigorously until completed.  The furnace will be situated on what was once Front-st., between Monroe and Quincy.  The bad conditions of the roads, at present, is a great obstacle to much speed.

IJ Jan. 27, 1869
An injunction has been served on the City Council restraining it from vacating certain streets and alleys on which to erect a furnace, by our fellow citizen, W. D. Kelly.  The council will hear the case in the Court House next Thursday evening.

IJ Jan. 27, 1869
City Council Proceedings – At the regular meeting of the City Council last Thursday night, the petition signed by W. D. Kelly and others asking for the vacation of certain streets and alleys, in order to enable him (Kelly) to erect a furnace, was read.  Also, a protest against the same.  An injunction was also read, which had been served in behalf of E. V. Dean.  The matter was referred to the City Solicitor, with instructions to report an ordinance if it could be legally done by Thursday night next. …

Ironton Register, Mar. 11, 1869
Kelly Furnace Affair. – The City Council granted so much of Mr. Kelly’s petition as asks for a vacation between Monroe and Quincy-sts. requiring from Mr. Kelly a bond of $10,000 to indemnify the city in case a successful suit for damages is made against it.  We understand that Mr. Kelly will give no bond, nor act under the arrangement, but that, if the matter is unchanged, he will erect his furnace elsewhere, if at all.

Ironton Register Mar. 25, 1869
Grant Furnace. – The ground for Mr. Kelly’s new furnace will be broken next week, and the work pushed vigorously until completed.  The furnace will be situated on what was once Front-st., between Monroe and Quincy.  The bad conditions of the roads, at present is a great obstacle to much speed.

Ironton Register Sept. 16, 1869
Another Pillar to Ironton’s Prosperity. – Grant Furnace in Blast…. it is not six months since the furnace was commenced. – The first dirt was shoveled on the 5th of April last, and the first rock laid on the 7th of the same month.  The stack was completed on the 10th of June, and the brick work finished on the 1st of August.  The first ore was received on the 10th of April and the first charcoal on the 13th (do not have end) …

Ironton Register Dec. 16, 1869
Grant furnace will be so fixed as to make cold or hot blast, just as the proprietor thinks he needs…. Our furnacemen are anxiously watching Congress, to see whether the legislation of that body will be in favor of British or home furnaces.