Hope FurnaceState Route 278
New Plymouth, Ohio 45654
Located at the edge of Lake Hope State Park, the Hope Furnace smelted iron for two decades in the abandoned town of Hope.
Located at the edge of Lake Hope State Park, about five miles northeast of Zaleski, the Hope Furnace smelted iron for two decades in the abandoned town of Hope. A historic marker and interpretive signage tells the story of Hope Furnace and the Hanging Rock Iron Region.
Built in 1854, much of this furnace still stands. Until its blowout in 1875, the furnace produced fifteen tons of iron each day, fueled by local charcoal. Impurities and insufficient local supply prevented the iron from being mass-produced. Slag remains strewn about the site.
The city of Hope was first settled by Irish immigrants in 1845. Upon building Hope Furnace, many of them found work manning the furnace and cutting the lumber necessary to fuel the furnace. Even with the dense forests of Vinton County, workers harvested trees from 425 acres of surrounding land.
The Hope Furnace is one of many in the Hanging Rock Iron Region, a stretch of iron-rich area in Ohio and Kentucky. Furnaces in these areas produced iron from 1818-1916 and helped furnish Union arms and warships during the Civil War. Vinton County was perfect for such furnaces. Not only did the land have the iron and limestone required for production, but also acres of forest needed for charcoal production. When it was first built, the Hope Furnace was surrounded by 4,000 acres of forest.
Visitors to the site are welcome to picnic at the park around the site. Lake Hope State Park and Zaleski State Forest are adjacent to the furnace and contain numerous hiking trails.
Notes for Travelers
The field approaching the furnace can be very muddy. Nearby bathrooms are poorly kept.