Lawrence County

Pinkney 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 City.  Ore 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.

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