On Saturday, May 4, 10 a.m.- 4 p.m., Falling Creek Ironworks will be commemorating its 400th anniversary with a heritage day celebration. This special event recognizes the establishment of the first iron furnace 400 years ago.
A procession of event participants around the Falling Creek Ironworks apartments will take place at 10 a.m., followed by an opening ceremony and sign dedication at 11 a.m. The sign dedication is for an interpretative sign for the Moore’s Lake Brick Cottage, which was moved to the site in February.
As part of the free May 4 celebration, there will be costumed interpreters, archaeological tours of the historic site, period musical performances, Fort Lee 392nd Army Band, demonstrations from the Wolf Creek Cherokee Tribe of Virginia, militia musket demonstrations, period demonstrations of blacksmithing, tin pressing and pottery, crafters and specialty food vendors. Children can play period games and other activities.
The 400th anniversary event will take place at Falling Creek Ironworks Park, 6407 Jefferson Davis Highway, North Chesterfield, VA. Admission and parking are free. Parking for the event will be at Bensley Recreation Center, 2900 Drewry’s Bluff Road. Shuttles will transport visitors to and from Falling Creek Ironworks Park. For more information, call 751-4946 or visit www.fallingcreekironworks.org.
About Falling Creek Ironworks
Falling Creek has two distinct but related industries. One was the first iron blast furnace in the English New World, 1619-1622, that heralded the great industrial might of the United States. It was constructed in 1619 by English workers whose expedition was organized by the Virginia Company of London. The first expedition led by Captain Bluett was unsuccessful, so a second expedition led by John Berkeley was organized in 1621. By early 1622, the works were completed, and the furnace was ready to put into blast. On March 22, 1622, coordinated Indian raids throughout the region destroyed many settlements including the furnace. Between 1750 and 1781, the site became an iron forge, started by Archibald Cary, a wealthy industrial entrepreneur. It was part of the manufacturing base during the Revolutionary War. Both industries were ended by wartime events, and faded from view, re-emerging in the late 20th and early 21st centuries as signature historic sites.
The Moore’s Lake Brick Cottage is a stone and brick cottage and an example of the tourist courts that were popular along Route 1 in the early- to mid-20th century. In 1920, R.D. Moore built approximately 40 cottages at Moore’s Lake. It serves as a reminder of the time when Route 1 was the primary highway from Maine to Key West.