Thursday, September 30, 2010

What's in a Name?

While surfing through the internet, I "googled" the word Ferrum. Being as I went to Ferrum College in the community of Ferrum Virginia, I wondered where the name Ferrum came from. Ferrum as it turns out is the latin word for Iron. This term and its meaning did not really surprise me as there are many references to Iron at the college. Fe is the name of the College magazine, and is also the designation for iron on the periodic table of elements. The newspaper on campus is "The Iron Blade", and I was familiar with the term "ferrous" as it relates to metals. This all made sense, but what was the connection to iron in Franklin County?

Upon digging deeper, I was able to learn of the history of Iron making in Virginia. Thirty different counties in Virginia at one time had iron making facilities. Franklin County was one of those counties with as best as I can tell, two separate iron blast furnaces. The one best known is the Washington Furnace. This furnace has been preserved, and is still in, from information I have found, quite good condition. This furnace may have been later known as the Saunders furnace. More information about this can be obtained through the Franklin County Historical Society.
The second furnace was called the Carron Furnace which was located near Ferrum. So I am left to assume that the community of Ferrum derived it name from the iron making industries in the surrounding areas. This is substantiated by a historical marker in Franklin County. (Photo of Ferrum Punter T.J. Grzesikowski enjoying what he is reading about the community of Ferrum and the College. Click picture to enlarge)

In the Iron making industry, the main instrument was the blast
 furnace. This is where all necessary raw components were melded together through a chemical reaction to heat. While I could go into more detail, the reason I am writing about this is simple. I began to think of Ferrum College and relating this to the Panthers football team. Many different components make up this years team. Student athletes from 9 different states and the District of Columbia have come together at W.B. Adams Stadium to form a "solid as iron" team. This same process has been going on since 1955, and since 1960 at Adams Stadium. Under the direction of the coaches, the team is worked and molded until the final product results in a
team that is of the highest quality. During the years that this process has been going on, Ferrum has won four national championships, and turned out countless All Americans, and professional athletes.

This stadium has been a successful training ground for the men that have toiled on her field, and she never fails to turn out stronger, athletes who are not only better prepared on game day, but learn lessons to apply in life. The players are the components used to defeat those visiting teams who come in with the misguided idea of claiming victory at Adams Stadium.
So when the Panthers play at home, look for them to bond like iron, look for the coaches, players and crowd to turn up the heat on the visiting team, and just watch as W.B. Adams Stadium becomes the modern day Ferrum Blast Furnace.

Go Panthers!

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