First established in 1881, Irondale is significant as the site of one of the first attempts to introduce heavy industry into western Washington, and was notable as an efficient and modern manufacturing facility. / The Irondale Iron and Steel Plant is an historical/archaeological site located in Jefferson County, Washington. Crumbling brick and concrete foundations now hidden by blackberry bushes, maple and alder trees, are all that remain of the plant. The central business district no longer exists. Irondale, a bustling industrial town in its heyday, boasted an active commercial center and daily traffic of ocean steamers arriving and departing from its dock. The Puget Sound Iron Company opened the first blast furnace in 1881 and produced high quality pig iron through 1889. Its location in Jefferson County resulted from an agreement with the owners of a nearby iron ore deposit. Only two other iron plants existed on the west coast at that time, in Oregon and California. Pacific Steel Company restored the blast furnace in 1901 and ran it for a short time. In 1906 the Irondale Furnace Company purchased the property and later, as Western Steel Corporation, added a full-scale steel plant. Irondale, unique during this era, was the only plant west of Pueblo, Colo. to produce steel from its own raw materials. After Western Steel's failure in 1911 the new owners, Pacific Coast Steel Company, dismantled and removed the steel plant. The blast furnace remained idle until it reopened between 1917-19 as an emergency war measure. Investors recognized the high profit potential of founding an iron and steel industry in the Puget Sound area. However, the increasing cost of fuel and necessity of importing iron ore kept expenses high. In addition, owners raised an insufficient amount of capital to maintain operations within the confines of modern improvements. Despite its failure, the Irondale Plant is significant as one of the first attempts to introduce heavy industry into western Washington. It drew eastern attention and population, but in true boom town tradition, Irondale and its industry prospered and declined together.