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Lawrence County Historical Museum

The Lawrence County Historical Museum, located in Ironton, Ohio, is a treasure house that depicts the iron history of the region. It is operated by the Lawrence County Historical Society, which has been a corporation since 1925. The Historical Museum is housed in a three and one-half story, brick, Victorian-Italian Villa built by James Furgerson in 1870. This Ohio Victorian home had once served to protect runaway slaves traveling the Underground Railroad. The building is best known as the residence of Colonel George N. Gray, an ironmaster, whose wife Eliza Ann Humphreys was the granddaughter of the famous abolitionist John Rankin. The property was transferred to Elizabeth Gray in 1878 and an addition was made to the posterior section of the house, along with the tower. An attic fire damaged the ceilings and roof of the building in 1882, leading to the repairs and an addition of the front bay window. During the years of 1891 and 1892, more additions were added to the original structure. The house remained in the Gray family for almost 100 years. In 1988, the Lawrence County Historical Society acquired the property using funds raised through contributions of community-minded individuals, members, and businesses and made it a museum. The museum features both permanent collection as well as rotating exhibits year-round. On display are items forging the iron history of the region, the Victorian era clothing, including old wedding gowns, dresses and furniture. Also in the museum are antiques, furnace room, permanent medical display for Dean Massie and a room dedicated in the name of Nanny Kelly Wright who was the only woman ironmaster in Ironton. The museum also conducts annual events. A very special event in Ironton is the Museum's Candlelight Church Walk in December. Lawrence County Museum is certified by the Ohio Association of Historical Societies and Museums.