Etna Furnace

The Etna Furnace is an abandoned pig iron furnace in the Hanging Rock Iron Region of Lawrence County, Ohio.

Constructed in 1832 by James Rodgers, Etna Furnace, alternatively known as Aetna Furnace, was situated in the Hanging Rock Iron Region of Lawrence County, Ohio. 1 2 3 4 5 The land, originally owned by Joseph and Kitty Dollarhide Kelly, was purchased by Rodgers in the same year. Alongside Etna Furnace, Rodgers’ company owned several other furnaces, including Alice, Blanche, Big Etna, and Vesuvius, as well as a substantial 16,000-acre landholding around the Etna and Vesuvius sites. The Etna Furnace, with a bosh measuring 10½ feet in width, operated using charcoal and was equipped with a steam engine-driven air blast. This setup enabled a daily production capacity of 16 tons.

In 1826, prior to establishing Etna Furnace, Rodgers had collaborated with Meaks, John Sparks, and Valentine Fear to construct the first furnace on the Ohio side of the river. 1 4 5 Rodgers had acquired land from the Kellys, who had settled in the area in 1820, and Joseph Kelly became a partner in the company. 2 Rodgers managed Etna Furnace until shortly before his death in June 1860. Beyond his furnace operations, he served as president of the Iron Bank and Lawrence Rolling Mill, represented Lawrence, Athens, Gallia, and Meigs counties in the Ohio State Senate in 1837, and held various other public offices.

The “Little” Etna Furnace ceased operations in April 1887 due to financial difficulties, although 250 workers continued extracting ore and lime for the Alice Furnace. 2 The “Big” Etna Furnace was put up for public sale on September 25, 1897. By mid-1899, it was reported to be operational and in good condition, with a daily production capacity of 240 tons.

Directions: Etna Furnace can be viewed along Etna-Waterloo Road in Lawrence County, Ohio.



  1. Markiel, J. Old Industry 2006. Articles.
  2. Kouns, Sharon M. “Iron Furnaces.” The Lawrence Register.
  3. Ramsey, Virgil, and Marguerite Ramsey. The Hanging Rock Iron Region, 2004.
  4. Iron Furnaces in the Wayne National Forest Area, United States Forest Service, 2015.
  5. Etna Furnace.” Briggs Lawrence County Public Library.

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