Iron ore was mined as early as 1807 along Orebed Road, just west of North Bennington. By the 1850s, the firm of Henry Burden & Sons from Troy, N.Y. controlled ore pits throughout the area and had established a processing plant on Paran Creek across from the Old Stone Church. The company also constructed charcoal kilns on East Mountain in Shaftsbury. The remains of one of the kilns are shown below.
In the 1860s, Henry Burden & Sons took over operation of a smelting furnace in South Shaftsbury along the upper reaches of Paran Creek. Steady shipments of pig iron flowed from South Shaftsbury to Troy via a private rail spur on the Rutland and Bennington Railroad. Henry Burden & Sons supplied horseshoes for the Union Cavalry in the Civil War with iron mined and smelted in and around North Bennington.
Victor R. Rolando, of Bennington, an industrial archeology researcher and past president of the Vermont Archaeology Society, has written a rich and extensive history of the Burden firm's iron operations in southwestern Vermont. We are pleased to reprint the article here (.pdf file 7.7 MB). The article was originally printed in The Journal of Vermont Archaeology in Vol. 8, 2007. Photo and article reproduced courtesy of Mr. Rolando.