©National Park Service
Experience first-hand what a center of
industry would have been like in
the 1800s at Hopewell Furnace.
During the Revolutionary War, Bird, an American patriot who was active in politics, became a steady supplier of cannon and shot to the Continental Army and Navy. By 1789, Hopewell was the state's second largest producer. Eventually, anthracite coal and later, coke -- which produced iron more economically -- replaced the cold-blast furnace, and Hopewell was abandoned.
In the 1930s, Civilian Conservation Corps workers began the task of restoring Hopewell Furnace. The Park Service got involved when it was named a national historic site in 1938. Using old records, photographs, artifacts, and interviews with former workers, the Park Service restored the furnace to its mid-1800s appearance. Some structures, such as the ironmaster's mansion and blacksmith shop, were in fairly good condition, but others had to be almost completely rebuilt, including the waterwheel and blast machinery.
Eleven buildings comprise the site, including a charcoal hearth, one of hundreds where workers turned 5,000 to 6,000 cords of wood a year into charcoal; the cooling shed, where smoldering charcoal was dumped before being moved to the charcoal house; the waterwheel, which drove the blast machinery; tenant houses; and a boarding house.
Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site Information
Address: 2 Mark Bird Lane (PA Route 345), Elverson, PA
Hours of Operation:
- Wednesday - Sunday, 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m., as well as Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, and Columbus Day.
- Parking lots, restrooms and trails are open every day except on federal holidays when the park is closed.
- $4 per person (age 16 and older)
- $10 per family (3 or more related persons age 16 or older)
- Free for children under age 16
Learn more about these other national historic sites:
To learn more about national national monuments, memorials, and historic sites, and other travel destinations in North America, visit:
- National Monuments: Learn more about America's national monuments.
- National Memorials: Discover national memorials in the U.S.
- National Historic Sites: Read about American national historic sites.
- Pennsylvania State Guide: Learn about Mobil Travel Guide-rated hotels and restaurants in Pennsylvania as well as other recreational activities.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Eric Peterson is a Denver-based freelance writer who has contributed to numerous guidebooks about the Western United States.