The photos were awesome. I guess I'll be heading up north one of these days, especially to see the Tahawas mine and village. I may be wrong, but from the photo, the Tahawas stack may well be the largest I've seen (a photo of).
The Airdrie furnace stack at Paradise Kentucky, mentioned in the John Prine song, "Daddy won't you take me back to Muhlenberg Country, down by the Green River where Paradise lay...I'm sorry my son, but you're too late in asking. Mr. Peabody's coal train done hauled it away" was built against a 40 foot tall limestone bluff, and yet even then extended to a total of 65 feet high.
Instead of covered with the usual limestone pyramidal covering or shell, it was covered with 2 foot wide swatches of metal, riveted together like old iron ships, every two inches. The stack and metal remain, as well as the bosch, which makes it clear, that even though 4 or 5 attempts to make iron were mounted, using the local coal deposits as fuel, internal temps never reached high enough to reduce the iron ore/limestone fluxing agent/coal, to anything approaching usable or saleable iron.
I suspect 'retirement' for me, will be traveling from historic iron furnace site to historic iron furnace site, surveying them, documenting them, and writing about them...and let me tell you, I'm looking forward to it!
Again, thanks for the photos. I wish I could find and post a bunch of mine, but I'm ignorant about the process and just a tad lazy to boot.