Roaring Run Furnace and Waterfalls and Humpback Bridge
Updated: May 11, 2018
During my trip to Buchanan, I went up to Roaring Run which is a recreational area in the Jefferson National Forest located in the upper part of Botetourt County. The area was about 40 minutes northwest of the cabin where I stayed.
There is a hiking trail there which leads to a nice series of waterfalls. The trail is a loop. One side is the "streamside" and the other side is the "woodland" trail. There are several footbridges that traverse Roaring Run Creek back and forth.
At the head of the woodland side of the trail is Roaring Run Furnace. Roaring Run Furnace is a 19th century stone-built iron furnace that was built around 1832 and is on the National Register of Historic Places. There is interpretive signage at the site of the furnace explaining how it was used and why it was placed in this location.
The Roaring Run Furnance was a "bloomery". A bloomery is a type of furnace once widely used for smelting iron from its oxides. The bloomery was the earliest form of smelter capable of smelting iron. A bloomery's product is a porous mass of iron and slag called a bloom. This mix of slag and iron in the bloom is termed sponge iron, which is usually consolidated (shingled) and further forged into wrought iron. The bloomery has now largely been superseded by the blast furnace, which produces pig iron. It's in amazingly good shape for being over 180 years old.
After hiking to the waterfalls and furnace, I drove about 35 mintues northwest to see the Humpback Covered Bridge. The bridge was bulit in 1857 and is the oldest of Virginia's seven remaining covered bridges. The 100-foot-long, single-span structure is four feet higher at its center than it is at either end, thus the name, "Humpback". The bridge was in use until 1929 as part of US Route 60. It is the only arched covered bridge remaining in the United States. The bridge was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1969, and in 2012, it was designated a National Historic Landmark.
There also is a LOVEworks sculpture there. LOVEworks sculptures are a program of VIrginia Tourism to show that "love is at the heart of every Virginia vacation". The artwork is locacted all around the state. This one is unique in the materials that were used to make it. Three of the letters were made out of resourced materials from local factories and the bridge itself. And then they used the natural beauty of the area to set it up so that the tree along the creek bed could serve as the ‘V’.