March 18, 2016

Hopewell Furnace

Last weekend Dave and I went to Hopewell Furnace. If you're like everyone I told about this, you're asking, "What's Hopewell Furnace?" That's a shame because it's a really neat place, and I liked it a lot. More people should check it out.

Hopewell Furnace is a National Historic Site, part of the National Park Service. It was the site of an "iron plantation" from the late-1700s through late-1800s. So it has historic buildings like an ironworks, a barn, a blacksmith shop, and worker housing, as well miles of trails on its 848 acres.

Our first stop was the visitor center, and we all know what I got there...


We talked to a very friendly park ranger, who told us about the park and gave us a map. When he said the park had three stamps- one for the park itself, one for the NPS Centennial, and one for the Schuykill River NHA, I heard Dave stifle a laugh. He knew I'd be excited about that. The visitor's center had a little museum area that explained what went on at the site. Something I thought was really cool was that it was equal pay for equal work- women not only did the same jobs as the men but got paid the same, too. In the 1700-1800s! Map in hand, we went exploring.

Looking back toward the visitor's center, which is up the hill

You can go inside most of the buildings, and there are horses, sheep, and bulls, too. I think my favorite thing in the buildings was the water wheel in the cast house.

Hopewell Furnace is right next to French Creek State Park, so we walked the trails around the lake there before heading home. I enjoyed my trip to Hopewell Furnace. It was a great snapshot of life at that time and the Industrial Revolution. The beautiful weather provided a perfect day to walk around exploring.


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