The John A. Irwin Home

Location: Columbia Furnace, on Stony Creek, seven miles southwest of Woodstock, Virginia, Route 261

Built: circa 1825


The few houses comprising the village of Columbia Furnace were originally owned by the various Iron companies until approximately 1886 when the properties went into the hands of receivers and operations of the furnace ceased. These houses were later sold to individuals.

9 Feb 1905: The Quaker City National Bank of Philadelphia, Joseph T. Jackson, John Gaffney and Elizabeth, his wife, and the Monarch Blast Furnace Company, Inc. sold to Shenandoah Iron and Coal Company. Deed Book 61, page 354

1 Jul 1905: Shenandoah Iron and Coal Company by W.A. Merriman, its president, sold to John A. Irwin, 9 1/2 acres for $750. Deed Book 63, page 42

Physical Description

This "U" shaped two and one half story English brick house with metal gabled roof has five brick chimneys, one outside. There are 24 windows, upstairs windows having twelve 8x12 panes and downstairs windows having fifteen 10x12 panes. There are green wooden shutters with stationary slats. A single story front porch runs the entire length of the house with a two story back porch.

There are eleven large rooms with ten foot ceilings. There is a cellar under the entire house with a clay floor. The walls are plastered and papered, while the floors are of regular size boards. In 1937, a general merchandise store occupied part of the house.

Historical Significance

This house is said to have been one of the four houses which comprised the village of Columbia Furnace when iron making was in progress.

"Between 1780 and 1880, iron working was an extensive and important business. During the Civil War, the furnaces suffered destructive fires, but in some cases they were speedily rebuilt and the production was continued. These local furnaces were especially of value, for while supplies could not be secured from outside the Confederacy all the more dependence had to be placed on home production. For this reason every effort was made by the Federals to destroy the furnaces, and Columbia Furnace suffered from fire at least three times during the war."

Source: Virginia W.P.A. Historical Inventory Project, 1937

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Created October 17 2001