By Charlie Hutson
LAFOLLETTE, TN (WLAF) – This is a look back to the early start of the Lafollette Coal, Iron and Railway Company. It was just a short trip up through the Big Creek Gap where there was Rex Mines 1 & 2.
The above image shows some of the coke ovens and the coal washer that was used at the Ivy Dell location. There were the east and west coke ovens, and both used the same washer. This was located along the banks of Indian River what is now called Big Creek today.
The product left this site on its way to the blast furnace located in the area where Indiana Avenue Baptist Church is today. At one time, this was considered one of the largest blast furnaces in the south.
By the late 1920s, this was becoming history as the entire operation went out of business.
Today, a few of the coke ovens still remain and some of the concrete from portions of the old structures.
Many have no idea of what a large operation went on in Ivy Dell. (WLAF NEWS PUBLISHED – 10/12/2023-6AM)