Inscription reads: "In 1836, brothers Daniel and Henry Forrer, in partnership with Samuel Gibbons, purchased land here for an ironworks and built a coldblast furnace called Furnace #1. Some 6,249 acres provided trees for charcoal, quarries and mines for limestone and ore, and crops to feed the workers. The Forrers later built Catherine Furnace near Newport and Pitt Springs and Furnace #2 on Naked Creek. Each furnace consumed an acre of wood per day for charcoal production to stay in blast. In September 1862, a black-powder mill, under the direction of local resident John Welfley, began operation just across the river."
During the Civil War, many thousands of troops marched along the Luray to Staunton Turnpike which entered Page County near Price's Mill and ran along the river just west of here. In May 1862, Confederate Gen. Richard S. Ewell's men passed by on their way to join Gen. Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson's attack on Front Royal. About two weeks later, Union Gen. James Shields came by twice, en route to and retreating after the Battle of Port Republic.
Although Union soldiers devastated nearby Shenandoah Valley farms during "The Burning" in October 1864, they did not destroy any ironworks. Perhaps Union commander Col. William H. Powell, himself a Pennsylvania iron man, spared them.
Last Updated: 7/20/2011 3:03 PM