The Buffalo River was a river crossing for frontier travelers along the Old Natchez Trace. Except after heavy rains, it was almost always fordable with depths ranging from ankle to chest deep. Travelers called it Metal Ford because the smooth stone river bottom reminded them of a stone surfaced or “metaled” road of the day. A small section of the Old Trace follows the water here.
Also the location of Steel’s Iron Works in the 1820s, there once was a charcoal burning furnace located here to manufacture pig iron. All that remains is the slag pile and a bit of the mill race to pull water for operating the air blasting machinery.
Metal Ford is located on the Tennessee portion of the Natchez Trace Parkway at mile marker 382.8.
Copyright 2019 Susan Rissi Tregoning
April 12th, 2019
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