The Clear Creek Iron Furnace was established ca. 1839 along the banks of Clear Creek in southern Bath County. Early furnaces had to be located near streams to power the bellows that forced air into the furnace. The Clear Creek Furnace operated until 1857, when many water-powered iron furnaces closed. It was rebuilt in 1872 as the Bath Furnace, which used steam power, and it continued to operate until 1875, when it was abandoned.
Like many furnace operations, Clear Creek was organized as an iron plantation, consisting of large tracts of land with iron ore deposits and vast stands of timber that were needed to make the charcoal that fueled the furnace. The furnace stack, where the iron ore was processed, was the center of the plantation. A number of buildings surrounded the furnace and supported its operation, such as a casting shed, repair shops, stores, houses for workers, and small farms to supply the workforce. Upwards of over 100 people worked at the furnace. Skilled laborers operated the furnace, while unskilled enslaved laborers mined iron, cut timber, made charcoal, transported these materials to the furnace, and transported the iron "pigs" (small impure iron ingots) to the forges for remelting.
Today, Clear Creek Furnace retains many elements of the original iron plantation: remains of the furnace stack, support buildings, worker’s houses, the original road, mining trenches, and charcoal kilns.