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Old 03-18-2012, 07:39 PM   #1
One Less Harley OP
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Kentucky- Searching for the 1854 Airdrie Foundry

n one of my earlier post Kentucky, abandoned locks on the Green River and Tributaries, a fellow inmate (Tudelum 48) made reference to the Airdrie Foundry, which is somewhere around Paradise KY. That’s pretty much all I knew about the place. Well also a few teaser photos. So I searched on the internet and all I could find was that it is 10.5 miles ENE of Greenville KY. I assumed just North of the Paradise TVA plant.Also Google Earth showed Airdrie Hill as an actual location, so with my great investigative skills this is where I'll make for.


The Story of Airdrie (complete story).


".........A wealthy Scot who lived in Scotland, but was born in Kentucky, became aware that Scotland was in a terrible state and the iron ore sources were depleting.........."


"..........The Scottish immigrants sailed to the new land in 1854 and immediately began building a city and the iron ore business........"


"......Airdrie's furnace was in operation no more than 8 weeks before it would blow a boiler. After three failed attempts to produce quality iron ore, and after 1/3 of a million dollars was spent, the owner had enough and called for the ironworks to be closed in the fall of 1857......."


Back to the search. I set out early Sunday....11:30 AM........to a familiar area Rochester KY where US Lock #3 on the Green River is located. Got to hit my favorite stretch of gravel and did some practice wheelies, trying to improve my lacking dirt bike skills.





Then passed through Rochester KY, no need to cross the ferry.







A shot of the Locks from the other side. I spoke with a old guy sitting in a wagon pulled with two donkeys and asked about the Airdrie Foundry. I figured an old guy could point me in the right direction...I was wrong. He mentioned a prison just North of the TVA plant. I remember some sort of reference to a prison somewhere online. Not much help though.







I made for the TVA plant at Paradise KY which is just East of Drakesboro on 176. There are some nice gravel roads around here that are part of the Peabody WLMA. Nice roads. I explored around for a while on TVA property, having fun (I.E. disregarding speed limits) on the open gravel roads and looked back in my mirrors and noticed a unpleasant familiar silhouette. Being paranoid I slowed down so the vehicle could get closer, looked like something on the roof of the SUV..... I made it back to 4 way stop at TVA plant and waved the security guard to come up, then asked about the Airdrie Foundry. He mentioned it was on private property and was gated off. A year ago someone had started a fire which burned about 40 acres and it's location near the TVA plant created a little bit of concern for people trespassing. He did mention it was just North of our location though.












Oh well, that story made it seem unlikely that I would achieve my goal, but if I could catch a glimpse of it and walk to it then all would not be lost. So off to scout the area on Rockport Paradise Road. I knew I was close. I followed this road all the way N to the parkway and about midway up this road was a hill side which I assumed was blocking my view of the foundry. So back South to the TVA plant. On the way there I saw some guys loading up a small fishing boat...hum they should be good for information...unless they own the property where the plant is located. Oh well..I stop and ask..bingo....got the information I needed. They mentioned a boat ramp which I had just passed, just go to the boat ramp and it's a gated dirt road on the left before the ramp.
GPS location for boat Ramp.(N37 16.450 W86 59.042)


View Larger Map






and the plant on the right..







So I secured my helmet, jacket placed over the GPS and hiked up the trail. While walking I was thinking I should have ridden, but figured if I got caught trespassing it would be better and easier to explain if on foot. It was a little bit of a hike, plus wondering if I was on the right track, but why would there be a trail to nothing of interest?? It was muddy and grown up, but there were light signs of a road. Walked about 1/2 a mile in ever more painful motocross boots until I saw the chimney (?) of the foundry. I had assumed the foundry would be in the open, but it was down a rock cliff sort of close to the water. I was almost at the edge of the cliff when I saw the "chimney" There were just two main structures left behind, with rock steps leading down to the base of the structures.

A view from the steps...




Steps down.






View from below...























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One Less Harley screwed with this post 03-21-2012 at 07:26 PM
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Old 03-18-2012, 08:11 PM   #2
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Awesome, just awesome!
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Old 03-18-2012, 08:16 PM   #3
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Found this awesome site Waymarking.com (link) for finding unique structures, wow makes searching easier.
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Old 03-19-2012, 08:50 AM   #4
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Wow......what a find! thanks for sharing!!
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Old 03-19-2012, 09:56 AM   #5
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Way to persevere !
The furnaces I've been to were built next to cliffs also. At the Fitchburg Furnace there's sign that explains the opperation. From the clifftop there was a bridge built over to the top of the structure so the workers could move the ore to the stack and drop it in.
The furnace you found has very fine stone work. Very nice .
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Old 03-19-2012, 10:08 AM   #6
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Interesting iron furnace link plus some locations (link)
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Old 03-19-2012, 10:14 AM   #7
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Very neat! Thanks for sharing.
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Old 03-19-2012, 10:32 AM   #8
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Awesome report!! Thanks for sharing!
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Old 03-19-2012, 11:48 AM   #9
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You do a great job.. keep up the good work..
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Old 03-19-2012, 08:29 PM   #10
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Awesome stonework on the arches. I also loved the way the steps were made. Done by a true craftsman.
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Old 03-20-2012, 02:13 AM   #11
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Neat! Love old buildings.
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Old 03-20-2012, 03:18 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KYwoodsrider View Post
Awesome stonework on the arches. I also loved the way the steps were made. Done by a true craftsman.
many craftsmen and many labourers me thinks.
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Old 03-20-2012, 05:14 PM   #13
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The steps were pretty interesting, should of got more pictures of them. Look pretty darn solid after 158 years. A couple were busted up, but still locked on very well.
There were rough cut marks on the building stones, that was interesting.
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Old 03-20-2012, 05:46 PM   #14
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very kewl :)
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Old 03-20-2012, 06:26 PM   #15
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Great treasure hunt OLH.

Did you happen to see the inscription?
"The three story stone house still stands with the inscribed words "Airdrie 1855" on the wall."

What a cool structure! Thanks for sharing a bit of long lost Kentucky history.
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