Local novelist Rachel Nicole Edwards grew up in the Catawba Valley
near the Catawba Iron Furnace, part of the inspiration for her first novel and upcoming prequel.
Her passion is writing and she loves to spend time with her friends, family,
and a black standard poodle named Jakers.
She also enjoys nature, music, swimming, community volunteering, and participating in 4-H Leadership.
Rachel is a graduate of James River High School and is accepted to Hollins University
to participate in their nationally accredited writing program.
The furnace, standing at 41 feet tall and located on Catawba Creek about 10 miles from Fincastle,
was built in 1830 and was in operation until 1865. At the time, it was the most unique iron furnace
east of the Appalachian Mountains, known for its high-quality iron and rounded shape.
The furnace was surrounded by a large estate that included a variety of buildings and iron and coal mines,
all of which are forgotten, even by locals today. When the furnace was refurbished
to supply the Confederate Navy during the Civil War, its iron was used to furnish the armor
of the Confederate Ironclad Ship “Virginia” which fought the U.S.S. Monitor in the famous battle,