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New River Notes — Complete

January 21, 2014

After about two years of work we have completed a major upgrade to New River Notes. On January 21, 2014 we switched in the last of the updated files and final page revisions.

In January 2013 we introduced the new site layout but because there were many pages left to do there was a big red Under Construction on the front page. A year later we've finished all of the pages that were on the original site. Construction is complete. We have a great looking site full of material to help you in your research and possibly entertain you.

We're not finished. A site like this can't just freeze in time. It must be maintained, .... Read More

New River Notes

January 6, 2013

New River Notes, a leading genealogy resource for the New River Valley of North Carolina and Virginia, launched its new look website today.

new river valley mapNew River Notes was originally launched in 1998 by Jeffrey C. Weaver providing New River Valley researchers with a new wealth of information and that tradition is continued today by the Grayson County, Virginia Heritage Foundation, Inc.

Welcome and we hope you enjoy our new look. For more information on the changes and plans see posts on the GCVHF Google+ Page.

New River Notes Photo Gallery

Collection of historic and current photos mostly covering the upper New River area of southwestern Virginia and nortwestern North Carolina

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Home > Virginia Counties > Wythe County, VA
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Foster Falls - Foster Falls Furnance.

Foster Falls Furnace, Foster Falls, VA., Wythe Co.


"For most of the 19th century, the mineral-rich New River Valley supported great industrial activity. Iron ore mines in the valley supplied the raw materials for dozens of iron furnaces and forges and the iron business became a major force in the regional economy. By the turn of the century how3ever, changes in technology and a depletion of the natural resources necessary for iron production had forced most of the furnaces out of business.
Foster Falls Furnace was built in 1880-81 by the Foster Falls Mining and Manufacturing Co. The furnace, described as an open top cold blast operation was run by water power from the New River and produced pig iron to the tune of 12 tons per day. Raw iron ore was transported to the furnace from mines in the Red Hill area of Wythe County aboard narrowguage railroads called "dinky" trains. The finished product was shipped to markets in St. Louis, Baltimore, and Cincinnati. At its peak, the furnace employed between 70 and 80 people.
In 1899 the furnace was sold to Virginia Iron Coal and Coke Co. and converted to a steam powered operation, increasing its production capacity. During Virginia Iron Coal and Coke ownership of the furnace, over 100 company owned homes were built in the vicinity to house its employees. The
Foster Falls Furnace operated until 1914, when a devastating flood destroyed the dinky train bridge over New River, cutting the supply of iron ore from the mines."--sign located on the site by the Virginia State Parks & Recreation Dept.

Photo by Shawn Dunford, courtesy of David Arnold

Easter2.jpg Llama(2).jpg penningtonstephen.jpg wardelbridge.jpg Foster_Falls_Furnace_(4).jpg dunhamharry.jpg 197.jpg AlvinHenryRichardson.jpg 986.jpg