Area and Iron City
The iron industry in Lawrence
County, formed in 1817 from parts of
Hickman and Maury Counties, is confined to the southern part that is
adjacent to Wayne
County. As early as 1818, the County Court of Pleas
and Quarter Sessions appointed a jury to review the feasibility of establishing
ironworks in the new county. Colonel
David Crockett, a member of the court, recognized the importance of the iron
deposits and owned land where some of the highest concentrations of ore
existed. This area came to be known as
Pinkney and from the 1830s until the early-twentieth century the area’s iron
mines were in production.
The first iron ore was extracted
from the Vanleer mine in 1832, which is located about two miles west of the
present-day community of Iron
was loaded onto wagons and hauled about five miles where it was processed into
pig iron at the Vanleer Furnace, which operated off and on until about 1840.
The Pinkney Mines, a large complex
that encompassed at least thirteen separate operations, operated from 1887
until 1912. The ore was shipped by rail
to several different furnaces for processing.
During that time, these mines employed hundreds of people in the area,
and more than three million tons of iron ore were taken from the area.
Lawrence County Image Gallery