In Hopewell, Pennsylvania, the proximity of iron ore, limestone, and charcoal led to this iron furnace’s success from 1771 to 1883. It also needed water from French Creek to run the air blast machinery allowing the furnace to reach smelting temperature. During the American Revolution, it produced cannon, shot, and shells for the Continental Navy. The 848-acre National Historic Site was authorized in 1938, making it one of the oldest in the nation.
Anthracite furnace, film, cast house, tenant houses, ironmaster’s mansion, Bethesda Church
Start with the short film at the visitor center, then take the self-guided walk through the “iron plantation.” Though the cold-blast charcoal process became outdated by 1883, the original furnace is still used each summer to produce aluminum products. Other costumed interpreters depict village life from late June to Labor Day. In September and October, visitors can pick 30 varieties of apples in the orchards for a small fee, similar to Capitol Reef National Park in Utah.
The site’s 12 miles of forested trails also connect into the neighboring French Creek State Park.
Inside the cast house, moulders cast molten iron into stove plates, cannonballs, and other products.
Summer and apple picking season
None, but “you pick” apples cost $1 per pound
Access roads are paved
French Creek State Park has more than 200 campsites with access to running water and showers.
Saugus Iron Works National Historic Site (Massachusetts)
Valley Forge National Historical Park (Pennsylvania)
Independence National Historical Park (Pennsylvania)
Explore More – How high of a temperature could the Hopewell Furnace reach when smelting?