Virginia is history. No, not in the sense that it’s “done for” or “over,” but rather that it is a portrait of the past. The Shenandoah Valley is certainly no exception, and one particular piece of history that lies near the Iris Inn in the George Washington National Forest is Mt. Torrey Furnace.
Mt. Torrey Furnace is exactly as its name suggests—a furnace. Built in 1804, it is a 40-foot tall iron furnace with a long, 19th century history: “Shut down in 1854, it was reopened seven years later to supply pig iron to Richmond’s Tredegar Iron Works for Confederate armaments. Tredegar purchased the furnace in 1863 to control its iron supply, but Union troops raided the site in 1864 and put it out of operation. Unlike many of the region’s furnaces, Mt. Torrey was put back into blast after the Civil War and remained in production until 1892 when it was finally abandoned” (The Virginia Landmarks Register). (Note: There are some conflicting dates about the destruction, renovation, and operation of the furnace, so the years may or may not be completely accurate.)
The stone structure is fascinating to visit, and it’s interesting to image the Civil War history surrounding it, as both Confederate and Union soldiers played a part in the operating and decommissioning of the furnace.