Kentucky- Searching for the 1854 Airdrie Foundry

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by One Less Harley, Mar 18, 2012.

  1. One Less Harley

    One Less Harley OH.THAT'S GONNA HURT

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    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.


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


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    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.


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    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.



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    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)

    <iframe marginheight="0" marginwidth="0" src="http://maps.google.com/maps?t=h&hl=en&ie=UTF8&ll=37.273062,-86.985025&spn=0.004892,0.010568&z=17&output=embed" frameborder="0" height="350" scrolling="no" width="425"></iframe>
    <small>View Larger Map</small>
    <small></small>


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    and the plant on the right..


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    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...

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    Steps down.


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    View from below...


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    #1
  2. DeBandi

    DeBandi Exploring Alabama

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    Awesome, just awesome!
    #2
  3. One Less Harley

    One Less Harley OH.THAT'S GONNA HURT

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    Found this awesome site Waymarking.com (link) for finding unique structures, wow makes searching easier.
    #3
  4. rhino_adv

    rhino_adv Gnarly Adventurer

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    Wow......what a find! thanks for sharing!!
    #4
  5. bk brkr baker

    bk brkr baker Long timer

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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 .
    #5
  6. One Less Harley

    One Less Harley OH.THAT'S GONNA HURT

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    Interesting iron furnace link plus some locations (link)
    #6
  7. mbabc

    mbabc Curmudgeon trainee

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    Very neat! Thanks for sharing.
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  8. Semongtaulie

    Semongtaulie Adventurer

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    Awesome report!! Thanks for sharing!
    #8
  9. dancerdave

    dancerdave Been here awhile

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    You do a great job.. keep up the good work..
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  10. KYwoodsrider

    KYwoodsrider Been here awhile

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    Awesome stonework on the arches. I also loved the way the steps were made. Done by a true craftsman.
    #10
  11. the darth peach

    the darth peach eats crackers in bed

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    Neat! Love old buildings.
    #11
  12. advNZer?

    advNZer? Long timer

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    many craftsmen and many labourers me thinks.
    #12
  13. One Less Harley

    One Less Harley OH.THAT'S GONNA HURT

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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.
    #13
  14. PineyMountainRacing

    PineyMountainRacing Oops....

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    very kewl :)
    #14
  15. PinkPillion

    PinkPillion Been here awhile

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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.:thumb
    #15
  16. BigDogAdventures

    BigDogAdventures Fart Letter

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    Nice---I was pokin' all around there last year looking for Paradise, Ky. ---but alas---as the song says.

    "The Peabody Coal Company had hauled it away"-------true story.

    Good on you finding the Foundry----I knew it was there but wasn't as brave as you to actually find it----what a piece of history.

    They were watchin' me too-----and to ease their minds I just went up and talked to a guard.

    BigDog

    When I was a child my family would travel
    Down to Western Kentucky where my parents were born
    And there's a backwards old town that's often remembered
    So many times that my memories are worn.


    And daddy won't you take me back to Muhlenberg County
    Down by the Green River where Paradise lay
    Well, I'm sorry my son, but you're too late in asking
    Mister Peabody's coal train has hauled it away


    Well sometimes we'd travel right down the Green River
    To the abandoned old prison down by Adrie Hill
    Where the air smelled like snakes and we'd shoot with our pistols
    But empty pop bottles was all we would kill.

    And daddy won't you take me back to Muhlenberg County
    Down by the Green River where Paradise lay
    Well, I'm sorry my son, but you're too late in asking
    Mister Peabody's coal train has hauled it away

    Then the coal company came with the world's largest shovel
    And they tortured the timber and stripped all the land
    Well, they dug for their coal till the land was forsaken
    Then they wrote it all down as the progress of man.

    And daddy won't you take me back to Muhlenberg County
    Down by the Green River where Paradise lay
    Well, I'm sorry my son, but you're too late in asking
    Mister Peabody's coal train has hauled it away

    When I die let my ashes float down the Green River
    Let my soul roll on up to the Rochester dam
    I'll be halfway to Heaven with Paradise waiting
    Just five miles away from wherever I am.

    And daddy won't you take me back to Muhlenberg County
    Down by the Green River where Paradise lay
    Well, I'm sorry my son, but you're too late in asking
    Mister Peabody's coal train has hauled it away

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    #16
  17. One Less Harley

    One Less Harley OH.THAT'S GONNA HURT

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    Big Dawg- The Foundry is on private property. When I was getting ready to leave two young men (20ish) w/ shot guns (not pointed at me), pulled up in a 4 WD Dodge and asked if I had a problem, genuine concern. I said no I had just checked out the Foundry. Then one of the guys said the property belonged to his family and it was ok to check it out as long as one didn't throw out stuff there. About a year ago there was a fire which burned about 40 acres and being in close proximity to the TVA you can imagine the concern!!!! Also not in the distant past someone got busted for growing about 10 plants...... So poking around does have it's risk. As I've heard of things being bobby trapped, so it's good to be observant of your surroundings and where you put your feet.
    #17
  18. Tudelum48

    Tudelum48 Been here awhile

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    How about a little credit for me telling you exactly where it was down to the boat ramp and left on the trail. SHEEESH. You would have thought you found Atlantis.
    BIG DOG the photo you took was on the road going to the boat ramp. Then just go left on the trail.
    #18
  19. BigDogAdventures

    BigDogAdventures Fart Letter

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    What photo----I didn't post a photo ????

    BigDog
    #19
  20. One Less Harley

    One Less Harley OH.THAT'S GONNA HURT

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    Dang......I'd have no problem giving you credit, but that's not the way the story goes. I was out there on Sunday :deal , and didn't get your email with directions until Monday night. BTW they were dead on.I actually got directions from two guys pulling out their John boat from a near by pond. I gave those anonymous fishermen credit.
    #20