Then and Now Project

Then and Now Project

A photo project by Nicole Cox

Kelly Nail Works }  { Riverfront }   { Big Etna Furnace }   { Gray House }  { Hecla Furnace }  { Little Etna Furnace }   { Selby Shoe Co }   { 2nd & Park Ave }   { Alpha Portland }   { Monitor School }   { Superior, OH }
Goldcamp Building }   { Center Furnace }  { Deaconess Hospital }  { 1st National Bank }   { Memorial Hall }   { Marlow Theater }   { 3rd & Center}   { Marting Hotel }
Brumberg Clothing }  {DT&I }
Dayton Malleable }  { Kroger }  { Iron City Hardware }  { Hamilton Furnace }
CH&D Tunnel }  { Union Furnace }

5th and Lawrence Streets, Ironton


Second Street & Park Avenue (Ironton)

The Iron Bank of Ironton was established in 1851…the charter for the bank was received on May 10, 1851 but the bank did not open for public business until July 11, 1851. James Rodgers was elected the first president and James O. Willard the first cashier. The Iron Bank was the predecessor of First National, which was chartered and took over business in 1863. The Iron Bank was originally located on north second between Lawrence and Buckhorn Streets (across from Save a Lot).

The building in the foreground was at one time apartments. It was demolished sometime between 1950-1960 and is now part of US Bank. The First National Bank in the background is now the other section of US Bank.

Iron City Savings Bank (3rd and Center Streets)

There were several early banks in Ironton. The Iron Bank came first in 1851 (see above). This became First National in 1863. The Exchange Bank opened in 1870, the H.C. Burr & Co in 1879, The Citizens National in 1890 and the Iron City Savings Bank in 1905.

Alpha Portland Cement Co.

Alpha Portland Cement operating in the 1940s (Photo courtesy Don DeLawder)
and Google Earth image, dated April 2012, of approx the same perspective. As of January 2015, only the safety monument and some scarce foundations remain. The third photo is a captured transition between Google Maps on 4/12 and 10/13…shows the silos fading away.

Big Etna Furnace (aka Marting Iron & Steel)

Big Etna set mostly at the end of Vine Street although once Marting took over the plant spanned several blocks over to Lorain Street. The Google Earth image from 2012 shows a slightly more aerial perspective.

The original Brumberg store/The Gold Studio – 114 South 2nd St.

Center Furnace

The picture above of the Center Furnace stack in the 1930s taken from the hillside behind the company store. The next photo shows the Center Furnace site while standing on the old DT&I railroad spur in 2012. There are numerous furnace stones scattered around.

CH&D Train Tunnel at Telegraph

This tunnel was built about 1882. The photo below shows the same tunnel in 2014.


Dayton Malleable/Ironton Iron

The  Ironton Malleable Iron Company was built in 1908 and in 1916 was acquired by the Dayton Malleable Iron Co.

Deaconess Hospital


Goldcamp Building

Hamilton Furnace

Hecla Furnace

The site of Hecla Furnace is now the Upper Township Volunteer Fire station. Just to the left out of view of this picture (behind the barber shop) is the base of the tall smoke stack that used to be there. Although it’s not easy to see in this photo, the terrain is still essentially the same now as it was then. Behind/to the left of the fire station is the hillside in which the furnace sat against.

Iron City Hardware

The photo above was during the 1937 flood…the Google Earth image is dated April 2012.

Kelly Nail & Iron Co.

According to the 1904 Sanborn map, the Kelly Nail & Iron Company was located at the river from Monroe to Chestnut with the main part of the plant being at the end of Quincy.

This Google Earth snapshot shows the same location in 2014 from a similar perspective.

Little Etna Furnace

Maggie/Ironton/Eagle/Union Furnace

This furnace was bought and sold many times so the name changed frequently. There’s nothing left of this furnace except for a small piece of the rail incline that led down to the river. This property is slated to be improved as part of the Riverfront Development Project. Interestingly, this property was also the site of the very first church in Ironton and at one time was the final resting place for many before it began to wash away. The remaining graves were relocated to Woodland.

Marlow Theatre and Marting Hotel

The Marting Hotel still stands today as senior citizens housing at 206 South 3rd Street in Ironton. The Marlow Theatre is technically still in there but partitioned off to restrict public access.

Memorial Hall, Ironton

Memorial Hall, located at 4th Street and Railroad Street, opened on September 22, 1892. It once housed Briggs Library, city hall and a jail. See more photos here:​

Monitor School, Coal Grove

The original Monitor school, built in 1857, sat in this very spot and was named for the nearby Monitor Furnace. It was destroyed by fire in 1905 and replaced with the current building. Read more about it here:

Lawrence County Museum (Gray House)

From the Ohio History Connection site, “The Lawrence County Museum is located in the Colonel George S. Gray House. Gray served in both the Fifty-Third Ohio Volunteer Infantry and the United States Navy during the American Civil War. Elizabeth Ferguson originally owned the home, which was built in the style of an Italian villa in 1870. Elizabeth Gray, wife of Colonel Gray, acquired the home in 1878, and the Gray family eventually made several additions to the home, including a bay window, a tower, and a greenhouse. Elizabeth Gray was the granddaughter of abolitionist John Rankin. Rankin died in this home in 1886.

In 1988, the Lawrence County Historical Society acquired the Colonel George S. Gray House. The home then became the Lawrence County Museum. One of the museum’s permanent displays includes furniture pieces that belonged to Rankin.”

Selby Shoe Company

Above is the Selby Shoe Co during the 1937 Flood. Below is a current view from Google Earth at 1619 So. 3rd Street, Ironton.

Superior, OH

In the 1940s if you drove down Superior Hill on what’s now 522 this is what you would see. The photo, taken from “Superior” by R.D. Null, and labeled later by me, shows the houses, hotel and stock yard in front of Center Furnace.

The same perspective, captured September 2013, shows there’s nothing left of this once bustling furnace community.


The riverfront as it looked above in 1905 and now in 2014.


Excelsior Shoe Company

Foster Stove Company

4th and Vernon Streets, Ironton

The Ketter Buggy Company

Route 75 /Corryville Road Tunnel, Ironton


DT&I Railroad


DT&I train over Storms Creek bridge { Photos found HERE }

Iron Railroad/DT&I tracks on Railroad Street in Ironton

Photo on left found HERE – photo on right from Google Maps

More to come – check back often!


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!

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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. 

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