Homestead House to open during 17th Shelby Iron Works Festival

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 28, 2005


Homestead House will open to the public from 1-3 p.m. on Oct. 8-9 in conjunction with the 17th annual Shelby Iron Works Festival.

Homestead House is located on Highway 99 in Shelby.

It was originally a one-room log cabin built in the early 1800s. The frame portion of the house was built in the 1830s, according to research done by the Porters who bought the house in the 1950s.

Some of the features visitors will see in the house include wainscoting and wooden pegs used to put together the large doors to the north side of the entrance. The pegs and square nails used in the house were hand-cut, and the framing is mortise and tenon.

The bricks which make up the steps in front of the house came from under the old porch, where they were once used as pillars.

Those bricks were made at a clay pit in the woods behind the house and called furnace brick. The wedge-shaped bricks made on the farm were made for Shelby Iron Works.

Legend was, according to Fay Porter, that a peddler stayed in the home for three months and did the hand-carving for his keep.

His hand-carved work included the mantelpiece and the woodwork on the doors and windows.

Porter said the land and house had been in the same family since first homesteaded in August 1836 until the Porters bought it in January 1959.

Tours of Homestead House will be held along with the Shelby Iron Works Festival.

Shelby Iron Works was the state’s largest producer of Confederate iron and home of the state’s first rolling mill and the largest charcoal blast furnace in the south.

Some of the activities on tap for the festival include a syrup mill making sweet sorghum syrup, a grist mill grinding corn, blacksmiths in action, an 1870s sawmill in operation, antique tractors and a tractor parade and an authentic moonshine still on display.

Also featured will be candle dipping, lye soap making, hominy cooking, cotton spinning and other old time crafts.

Refreshments will be available at both the Homestead House and the Iron Works Festival including beans, greens and fixins’, barbecue and the world famous Old Shelby boiled peanuts.

The festival will be held on the grounds of the Old Shelby Iron Works, located four-and-a-half miles south of Columbiana on Highway 42 just west of the Highway 47 intersection.