Lawrence Furnace

Lawrence Furnace
38.643058, -82.672799


Lawrence Furnace in Elizabeth township, Lawrence County, was built by James Riggs & Co., of whom I have no personal knowledge, but I remember with great pleasure the venerable John Culbertson, owner and manager of Lawrence furnace a half century ago. Mr Culbertson was a native of Pennsylvania and in his early manhood came to southern Ohio and became identified with the iron industry and was a prominent figure in iron circles up to the time of his death which occurred years ago. He was a strong man intellectually and retained his mental and physical vigor up until the last Mr Culbertson had one son, Cambridge, who spent his early days with his father at the furnace and afterward went to Tennessee where he became interested in iron making in that section. Jack Culbertson, a grandson, went south and became quite prominent in the iron business there. A nephew and namesake John Culbertson of Vinton county has devoted most of his life to the making of pig iron and contracting and delivering ore to the furnaces. Another nephew, William Wirt Culbertson, came into this iron district more than a half century ago and was employed as bookkeeper at Ohio furnace. At the close of the Civil War, he was wearing the shoulder straps of a colonel. He married a daughter of Thomas W Means, an iron magnate, and moved to Ashland, Ky., where he became interested in the iron business. Later he launched into politics and was twice elected to congress but he was never robust physically and died years ago.

Source: “The Iron Trade Review.” Volume 39, Issue 2. July 19, 1906. Page 21

Lawrence Furnace School still standing in the woods

Ohio Calcium Company Limestone Kilns

These silos were part of the Ohio Calcium Company, ran by Carter Abel, and are NOT remnants of Lawrence Furnace.


 There were TWO Lawrence Furnaces, but the second was built across from the first. The original charcoal furnace was built in 1833 by John Campbell and others; the second coke-fueled furnace, pictured below, was built in 1889.

1887 Atlas map showing the OLD Lawrence Furnace in reference to the cemetery, which is still in use


The old Lawrence Furnace was assigned to George N. Gray, who “filed inventory, and ordered to sell at private sale.” – Ironton Register, 4 Oct 1877


Have questions? Contact Nicole Cox at (740) 646-4104. We hope to see you there!

COVID-19 Information: Serving our community SAFELY is our #1 priority during this difficult time. The Museum is open and operating with certain restrictions, such as occupancy limits and increased sanitization practices. We encourage you to visit wearing a mask and practicing safe social distancing. Docents are available to answer any questions you may have. We look forward to seeing you soon!

Check out some of our most popular links:

To report a problem or to submit content, send me an email here.

About Lawrence County, Ohio

Lawrence County, Ohio borders the Ohio River at the Southernmost part of the state. Six architecturally interesting bridges span the Ohio River, connecting Lawrence County with various locations in both Kentucky and West Virginia. Because of these bridges, metropolitan Ashland, KY and Huntington, WV are just minutes away from virtually anywhere in the county.

Lawrence County Ohio was organized December 20, 1816, the first Court of Common Pleas was organized March 4, 1817. In 2016, Lawrence County celebrated its Bicentennial… click here to view photos of the Grand Finale event.

The first election was held April 7, 1817, with Joseph Davidson, Joel Bowen, and David Spurlock elected county commissioners. Their first meeting was held Monday afternoon, April 21, 1817, at the home of Joseph Davidson in Burlington.

Lawrence County, Ohio was named after Capt. James Lawrence, a native of Burlington, NJ and a gallant naval officer of the War of 1812.

Lawrence County was home to 23 blast furnaces and was once the world leader in pig iron production.

The county seat is Ironton, where you will find our government offices, restaurants, museum, library, splash park, civic organizations, and is home of the famous Memorial Day Parade.

Check out what’s new in Lawrence County, with the Lawrence County Guide Book. 

%d bloggers like this: