What to know about the site:
The furnace consisted of an inner lining of fire-brick and an outer wall. The outer wall or stack was constructed of massive sandstone blocks. The purpose of the outer wall was to support and to insulate the inner lining. Space between the two was filled with sandstone rubble and sand.
The furnace was built on two levels with the top of the stack the same elevation as the storage yard. Sheds were used for housing the charcoal and other supplies to be used in the furnaces. Iron furnaces played a major economic role in the region. Each furnace consisted of a community of several hundred people where workers and families lived. Typical small towns around these furnaces consisted of a general store, church, school and cemetery.
The types of jobs one could work were laborers, teamsters, ore-diggers, blacksmiths, carpenters, charcoal burners, storekeepers, bookkeeper, and furnace owner or manager. The wages were $10 or $20 per month and were paid in script that was used in the company store. Workers’ houses were company-built, and usually had dirt floors.
The quality of iron or in the Hanging Rock Iron Region was high quality iron, and sought after by the army for the war efforts. It is likely that the iron from this region was used to produce the armor plate that sheathed the Union Ironclad ship, the Monitor.
During production of iron ore, the woods around the site was gone, the timber was needed to produce charcoal needed to fuel the furnace.
Buckeye Furnace employed between 100 and 200 men, and held between 50 and 100 yoke of oxen. The men working at Buckeye Furnace included a manager, two engineers, two to three store clerks, over a dozen miners and 50 wood cutters.
To produce 3,000 tons of pig iron per year required 7,888 tons of ore, 411 tons of limestone for flux, and 411,000 bushels of charcoal. To make all that charcoal, it took 300 - 350 acres of timberland and 48 wood cutters working from October to April to produce 11,500 cords of wood. And because timber regeneration takes 20 - 30 years Buckeye Furnace needed 6,000 to 10,000 acres of timberland to maintain a continuous supply.