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Fitchburg Furnace, also known as the Red River Furnace, was constructed in 1869 by Fred Fitch and Sam Worthley for $160,000, $100,000 of which went into the furnace alone.1 The massive facility was built purely upon speculation by native businessmen during the western railroad construction boom, but it was built as a charcoal furnace and not coal, who many were converting to.

The two-stack furnace, Blackstone on the south and Chandler on the north, was built of sandstone 60 feet high with a furnace interior 50 feet high with a 12.5 foot bosh.1 It employed over 1,000 and had a daily tonnage output of 25 tons, utilizing limonite ore, charcoal and limestone flux for its raw materials.

The Panic of 1873 caused the speculation run to cease and the furnace closed.1 Additionally, the discovery of rich iron ore in the Birmingham, Alabama region lowered the need for Kentucky iron, which was labor intensive and costly.

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