Hickman County

Sugar Creek Furnace

            In 1830, the partnership of Samuel B. Lee and James Gould purchased more than 20,000 acres of timberland in Hickman and Humphreys counties along a tributary of the Duck River.  Lee, who had married the niece of ironmaster Richard C. Napier, believed that large quantities of accessible iron ore lay along Sugar Creek, and hired an Irish stonemason by the name of Hill to build a furnace next to a hill containing some of the richer deposits.  A few years later, when the miners began to dig the ore, the partners found that they had made a big mistake; there was actually very little suitable ore available at that location. They were forced to send their workers nine miles away to an ore bank near Pretty Creek in order to supply the operation.  Although the water-powered facility produced about forty tons of pig iron per week, the expenses of transporting the large quantities of raw material such a long distance proved to be too great, and the furnace had to be abandoned after a short time.  Most of this imposing limestone stack still stands today.


Sugar Creek Furnace is located off Interstate 40 at the Bucksnort exit, state route 230 in the northwestern part of Hickman County.  The furnace may be viewed from the road.

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