Oswego Heritage Council - The Iron Furnace
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OSWEGO'S IRON HISTORY

"Iron making was Oregon's first major manufacturing enterprise
and the little town of Oswego was the center of this venture."
(Ann Fulton, Iron, Wood & Water, p. 26)


The Oswego iron furnace in 1867; photo by Carleton E. Watkins
Courtesy of the Oregon Historical Society, #OrHi 21596

"The iron industry in Oregon was in every way analogous to the early growth and development of the state. Interest in finding deposits of iron ore was shown as early as 1841. By 1844 large amounts of ore had been discovered near Oswego, Oregon, seven miles from Portland.... The mining and smelting of iron locally was closely linked to the predominant role of iron in Portland architecture. Even though the city's first iron fronts were imported from San Francisco, the majority of fronts after 1867 were made locally with ore produced by the Oregon Iron Company and its successors the Oswego Iron Company and the Oregon Iron and Steel Company. Local production of iron was promoted by some of the most prominent men in the Portland community--perhaps in the hope of making Portland one of the great iron-producing centers of the country."

(William J. Hawkins III, The Grand Era of Cast-Iron Architecture in Portland, pp. 188, 190)

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