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Peter Tarr Furnace

The Peter Tarr Furnace, the first iron furnace west of the Allegheny Mountains, is situated in Hancock County, West Virginia.

Located in Hancock County, West Virginia, the Peter Tarr Furnace stands as the first iron furnace west of the Allegheny Mountains.

Built in 1794 by Grant on land owned by American pioneer James Campbell near Kings Creek, 1 the furnace was later purchased in 1801 by Peter Tarr and James Rankin. 2 Subsequently, Tarr, with a partner, founded the firm of Cornell, Tarr & Company. 1

The furnace’s design included a 20-foot tall stack and an eight-foot wide bosh. 1 It used charcoal as fuel and had a blowing engine to generate a cold air blast, enabling it to produce two tons of pig iron daily. 2 The iron from this furnace was primarily crafted into household utensils, skillets, and kettles, with a significant portion sent to a store in Wellsburg. 1 2 Notably, during the War of 1812, its iron was used to cast cannonballs employed by Commodore Oliver H. Perry at the 1813 Battle of Lake Erie.

The furnace continued its operations until 1840, a year after Peter Tarr’s death in 1839. 1 2 In 1961, the land was gifted to the Hancock County Court. 1 Weirton Steel Company then took measures to preserve it as a landmark. The furnace’s shell was subsequently restored in 1968 by the Hancock County Historical Society, cementing its status as a permanent landmark. 2



  1. Peter Tarr’s Furnace.” Development of Hancock County, WV.
  2. Tarr, Pam and Daniel Hart “Peter Tarr Furnace.” e-WV: The West Virginia Encyclopedia, 01 July 2022.

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