Blast furnace U4 is a rusty fossil. The oldest furnace in the Lorraine coal basin stands alone on an open industrial steppe alongside the 953 main road and the River Fensch. The adjacent furnaces have been demolished one by one. The struggle to keep it in existence lasted 15 years. Since 1935 blast furnace 4 has the proud reputation of being the only listed furnace in France. During the season an illumination by the artist Claude Leveque entitled "all the suns" sends out streams of light into the night.
In 1890 a successful iron mill baron named Freiherr Carl Ferdinand von Stumm-Halberg bought up 24 hectares of land in Uckange, and during the next eight years he erected four blast furnaces on the site. By 1904 this number increased to six. At the end of the First World War they were all confiscated and handed over to the "Societe Anonyme des Forges et des Acieries de Nord et Lorraine". By 1965 they had been reduced to four once again, and the second furnace was blown out. Uckange now belonged to the iron mill in Saulness, and it continued to be fed with materials just as in the 1930s. An inclined lift raised the tubs to the top of the twin-coned blast furnace. In 1976 plans were made to overhaul U4, but these were postponed until 1988 because demand for steel was beginning to decline. In 1991 the blast furnace was blown out for good. Apart from the U4, there still exist the administrative buildings, a blast house with a cockpit, a boiler house, workshops and weighing houses.
The old blast furnace site is surrounded by dwellings which were once built to house the mill workers. Uckange also still contains the mansion that belong to the Stumm family. In nearby Hayange the road leads away from the ArcelorMittal steel mill back into the interwoven hierarchical past when the workers dwellings and the directors’ villas used to be almost adjacent to the family chapel and graveyard site belonging to the dynasty of iron mill tycoons, the de Wendel family. Their central office was located in a mansion whose round gable carried a clock and images of tools used in the iron and steel industry. High above them all is the gift donated by the de Wendel family to Cote des Vignes, a seven metre tall statue of the Holy Virgin looking down on the iron works and housing estates of the Fensch valley.
|Recommended duration of visit:||1,5 Hours|
|Duration of a guided tour:||90 Minutes|
|Access for persons with disabilities:||For details see website|
|Visitor centre on site:||yes|
Tuesday - Sunday 2pm-6.30pm
Saturday until 8.30pm