Despite the gradual closings of other furnaces in the area—due to factors including the need to mine deeper for iron which was costlier; charcoal was being brought in because all the trees in the area had been cut down; and the furnaces could not compete with more powerful furnaces in Pennsylvania—the Beckley Furnace was able to survive. It became more efficient, it was near railroad lines, it was modernized in 1896, and it started to use steam power. These improvements nearly doubled output. The furnace was also purchased by a large company in 1857 which also owned other furnaces in the area as well as forests in Vermont, local supporting facilities, and railway wheel manufacturers in the state and in Chicago.
The company eventually couldn't compete with the Pennsylvania iron industry and ceased operations in 1919. The Beckley Furnace was restored in 1999.