Gladie Center Open Daily Year round, except on weekends in winter. The interpretive exhibits at the Gladie Cultural-environmental Learning Center provide a glimpse into the past and convey the wild, natural beauty that visitors seek when entering the Red River Gorge. Visitor information, maps and overnight permits area available at the center.
3451 Sky Bridge Road Stanton, KY (606) 663-8100
Red River Museum Located in Clay City, KY, The Red River Museum is a veritable treasure trove of odd antiquated items related to the Powell County area. Opened in 1967, it offers visitors a view into not only the surrounding areas past but Kentucky’s history as well. Two floors of amazing junk and antiques, plus and a yard full of more stuff. Railroad memorabilia, rustic antiques and old photos. Indian artifacts and old soda bottles galore. The building itself is the former Clay City National Bank building, built in 1875. There are 3 other buildings outside, one of which houses a small Railroad Museum. The second is an old school house and the third is an old work shed. www.theredrivermuseum.org 4541 Main St. Clay City, KY (606)663-8858
Three Forks Historical Center It is a neat museum tucked away in the Beattyville. Recently added Veteran Hall is probably the most impressive section of the museum. There is a nice combination of graphics, like wartime posters and pictures and tangible objects, like sabres, badges and even uniforms. Each uniform has a name and was donated by that solders family– it really brings home the reality of war. The ancient Native American cultures are well presented along with the pioneering history of logging, railroad heritage, county’s agriculture and oil boom days. There is evidence of the local prison craftsmanship in the museum’s interior feature. Well worth a stop and conversation with the local folks. Great place to visit to get a visual impression of the history of the region. www.heartofthekentuckyriver.com Highway 11 South Beattyville, KY (606)464-2888
Wolfe County Historical Museum
Come reminisce about days gone by and see a family item or two. Located in Downtown Campton. Operates Entirely on donations. Pictures & scenes of Wolfe County needed. Open Sunday 2:00-4:00pm
Estill County Fitchburg Furnace Fitchburg Furnace is one of the “must see” stops for the serious iron furnace enthusiast. Also known as the Red River Furnace, Fitchburg is operated by the U.S. Park Service and is in excellent shape. The furnace is actually two stacks, Blackstone (on the Left) and Chandler (on the Right). The furnace is a solid mass of sandstone built sixty feet high. The base measures forty feet by eighty feet, the interior stacks are fifty feet tall, with twelve and a half foot boshes. They were steam blast, charcoal furnaces with a daily output of twenty-five tons. Built with a total investment of $160,000, they are an impressive sight. The furnaces alone cost $100,000, the remaining money being invested in equipment.
Fitchburg was built largely on greed and speculation. The over speculation in western railroads during the latter part of the 1860′s led many businessmen to become involved in iron production during this period. The fact that the furnace was built as a charcoal furnace when many were converting to coal is clear evidence that experienced furnace owners were not involved. The furnace closed in the Panic of 1873 when the speculation bubble broke, causing a short recession. Additionally, the discovery of iron ore beds in Birmingham, Alabama reduced the need for southern buyers to purchase iron from the Kentucky area.
The furnace utilized limonite (limestone) ore that is found under beds of clay and white shale. A typical charge included 3 tons of ore, 179 bushels of charcoal, and 1.8 tons of limestone flux. Over 1,000 men worked at Fitchburg when it was in operation. -Information obtained from www.kaht.net & www.oldindusty.org. Directions: From Mountain Parkway: You can take the Beattyville Exit 40 to 715 to 11 to 498 to 52 West to 1182 to 975… Or Slade exit (Hwy. 11) to 498 to 52 West to 1182 to 975…Or Clay City / Irvine Exit (Hwy. 82) to HWY 89 Irvine. Turn LEFT onto 52 (LEFT turn at the courthouse, stoplight #3). Follow 52 about 2 miles to flashing yellow light. Go straight through intersection and pick up 1571. Follow 1571 under railroad, and left along river. Follow 5.5 miles until it stops at 52 again (you will have bypassed Tipton Ridge). Turn left onto 52 west, go 1.3 miles to intersection of 1182, 975 and 52. Turn right onto 1182 and then IMMEDIATELY LEFT onto 975. Aldersgate Camp and Retreat Center is at the end of 975 (3.2 miles). Once you enter the camp property, the furnace will be on your left.