The Marietta furnaces were built between 1847-49 by Henry Musselman of Marietta and Dr. Peter Shoenberger, of Pittsburgh, a physician with a number of iron furnace interests. Shoenberger was the father-in-law of Henry Miller Watts, another Marietta ironmaster, who entered a partnership with Musselman after Shoenberger’s death in 1854. This partnership lasted until 1868, after an adjacent third furnace had been built. The property was then divided into two equal shares, with Henry M. Watts and Sons taking the two Marietta furnaces and Henry Musselman and Son keeping the newest one, then called the Musselman furnace and later known as Vesta Furnace. Marietta Furnace No. 1 was the main working furnace of the two; No 2. was apparently used as a “stand-by” for peak production periods and never as extensively remodeled as its twin. Henry M. Watts’ sons, Henry S. Watts and Ethelbert Watts, operated the Marietta furnaces until 1873, when financial difficulties and a depression in the iron trade forced it to go out of blast for a time. The furnaces were remodeled in 1880, but in 1886 the part of Watts’ estate containing the Marietta furnaces was sold at sheriff’s sale. By 1889 both furnaces were idle. Later, from 1925-1949, the furnace property was owned by Lavino Furnace Company, but the abandoned furnaces were never restarted or rebuilt and were eventually dismantled. Photo above left shows the furnaces at the time they were being dismantled.
The former site of the Marietta #2 Furnace is now home to the Marietta Sewer Plant along Furnace Road.
Remains of the Marietta #1 Furnace are still visible in the woods just south of the Sewer Plant. This heavily overgrown abutment was once part of the elevated railroad that delivered raw materials to the furnace.