Get of the beaten path & visit Hamilton Hollow Iron Works this spring

By Dennis Bresnahan

There are many historic sites in Missouri. Some are on private property but many are on public lands in parks and conservation areas.  

Many of these historic sites are unknown to a lot of people because they are off the beaten path.

One of these places is the Hamilton Hollow Iron Works in Hamilton Hollow.  I have traveled Highway 185 from Sullivan, Mo., to Potosi, Mo.i, many times and only recently discovered this place.

The Hamilton Iron Works is the site of the remains of a blast furnace that was built in 1873 and was in operation for only three years until it closed in 1876.  

The iron works left very little evidence of its existence and very little is known about its owners, its production capacity, or the people who worked there.

A large number of iron furnaces were built between 1869 and 1875 due to an increase in the price of iron. Of the thirty furnaces built in the history of the Missouri iron industry, 1816 to the present, eighteen of these were built in that seven-year period.

A financial panic that began in 1873 and by 1875 had caused one of the worst business depressions in the country’s history eventually put an end to the Hamilton Hollow Iron Works.  

But some of it remains here today.

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