The Dark And Filthy Place
Thin shafts of light pierce the loading area at Carrie Furnaces. Up above these chutes are train tracks where carloads of coke, lime and ore would arrive and be dumped down here into smaller carts. Those smaller carts could be hoisted and dumped into the blast furnace.
It took about four tons of the three raw materials -- iron ore, coke to melt it, and lime to slake the impurities off the molten iron -- to make one ton of finished iron. So when Carrie Furnaces was at its peak, producing 1,250 tons of iron a day, there was close to 5,000 tons of material coming down these chutes.
In blast furnace full of filthy, hot, dangerous tasks, standing down here to open and close the chutes was one of the worst jobs of all. I think the tour guide said that it was where the black men were assigned to work for many years.