1001 E. College Ave. 16801
Uncovering the Iron Furnaces at Pennsylvania Furnace
Sunday, March 4 @ 2:00 p.m. at the Centre Furnace Mansion
Presented by Robert Hazelton.
John Lyon began ironmaking at Pennsylvania Furnace around 1813. The operation continued as Lyon, Shorb, and Co. and ended as Tyrone Mining and Manufacturing in 1888.” The company held vast landholdings in both Ferguson Township and nearby Huntingdon County, with the stack located on approximately the county line. As with other ironmaking locations, the village of Pennsylvania Furnace grew up around the operation. While little remains of the stack area, the ironmaster’s mansion serves as a prominent reminder of the importance of this industry to central Pennsylvania.
Currently, the ironmaking site includes the side-by-side remains of two charcoal iron furnaces, one dating back to 1813 and a later one that towers some 40 feet. And here is where this story begins.
In 2014, Bob Hazelton led a hands-on effort to rediscover the history of the ironworks that put Pennsylvania Furnace on the map. Preservation work at the site has continued with enthusiasm, and a lot of hard work –an effort that has gone far to preserve the furnace remains and surrounding ground. Bob estimates that over 300 hours of volunteer time have been contributed by several kindred spirits.
Physical access to the site has been challenging, but no doubt played a role in preserving it. Prior to 2014, one could drive by the site on Johnston Road less than 50 feet away and never see any hint of the furnaces. Extensive brush cutting and removal progressed to weed whacking, and last summer, mowing about a third of an acre. This dedicated volunteer effort has revealed the remains of the two furnaces and several other features of this historical treasure.
Recent focus has centered on removing soil and debris which hide the furnace walls. Exploration continues on what seems to be a railroad spur that served the site from the nearby rail line that Andrew Carnegie added to reach Pennsylvania Furnace, and then Scotia in 1880.
Bob will highlight the historical research that has uncovered documents, photos, and maps through an illustrated presentation.
The Centre Furnace Mansion is located at 1001 E. College Avenue, State College, PA 16801. Parking is available in the lower lawn along College Avenue, as well as in the Mansion parking lot off of Porter Road. Admission to the program is FREE. Donations are appreciated. For more information, please call (814) 234-4779.