Joseph Graham’s Vesuvius Furnace

Vesuvius Vineyards in Iron Station, Lincoln County, NC. Photo by Wilhelm Kühner (2016).

Vesuvius Furnace is the location of a historic home and iron furnace in Iron Station, Lincoln County, North Carolina. The original home and blast furnace were built around 1792 by Joseph Graham. The privately-owned property and home were restored in 2009, and the site is currently the home of Vesuvius Vineyards — a wine vineyard and wedding and event venue.

The name “Vesuvius” was allegedly given to it since the iron furnace smoked like Mount Vesuvius — which experienced relatively severe eruptions almost continuously from 1631 to 1944. Later iron furnaces in the country would be called by the same name.

Snip: The Newton Enterpeise, April 11, 1890 — via Newspapers.com.

In addition to wood from what was likely hundreds of acres of nearby trees every year, Graham’s blast furnace may have also been fueled by limestone and iron ore from the kiln and mine at the farmstead of Casper Kühner. The historic Keener Farmstead were granted to Lawson Keener in 1853 by Casper’s grandson — Abraham Kühner’s son, Jacob. In addition to documenting Abraham’s actions at the Battle of Ramsour’s Mill, Joseph Graham also served on a committee to settle his estate in 1799. Casper and Abraham are believed to be buried in the nearby Keener-Shrum family cemetery.

“During the time the furnace was in operation, ironmasters supplemented slave labor with hired workers from various families in the surrounding area.” — Lincoln County Historical Association

Vesuvius Furnace was the location of multiple slave auctions as recorded in newspaper ads during the 1840s.

Screenshot: The Lincoln Courier, March 13, 1847 (DigitalNC).

The site was also the location of a school that taught five months of English and Arithmetic for $10 tuition in the 1840s.

Screenshot: The Lincoln Republican, September 22, 1841 (DigitalNC).

In 1848, the iron works, land, and home were sold at public auction.

Screenshot: The Lincoln Courier, January 20, 1848 (DigitalNC).

During the 1860s, the iron works was owned by J.M. Smith who advertised his business widely across the Western part of the state.

Screenshot: The western Democrat, May 05, 1863 (DigitalNC).

Today, some locals believe the house is haunted

Science Activities: Learn about Blast Furnace by Iken Edu