A rich tapestry of facts, rumors, secrets, mysteries, eccentric and murderous characters along with the genteel, intertwine to make up the history of Firmstone Manor and the Longdale Historic District where it is located.
Longdale Furnace played a significant role in the development of industry in the South, the Civil War, development of the railroad and even shipbuilding.
The following is just a short light introduction into its fascinating history.
In 1822 Alleghany County was created (An interesting historical note declares that there is ample evidence to show that Alleghany County was to be called Pocahontas, but a clerk mixed up documents, wrote it in wrong, and the mistake stuck).
In 1827 an enterprising Col. John Jordan and John Irvine erected the Lucy Selina Furnace (named after their wives) to take advantage of the rich iron ore deposits in these beautiful mountains. Lack of technical knowledge did not deter them from making this investment.
Col. John Jordan also wanted to build a road over the North Mountain. He approached Rockbridge County with the idea, requesting their help, and they knowing very well the heights and hazards of North Mountain gave him a firm “no”. However he ignored the warnings. Using slaves and prisoners he built the road. Long forgotten graves of the many men who died building this road under a cruel taskmaster line its sides and grace the top of North Mountain. Today this treacherous and seldom used road leads to some of the most beautiful views and trails in Virginia.