I’m so glad you could all come with me on my tour of the old village of Hopewell Furnace in southeastern Pennsylvania. This is the fourth leg of our journey and if you’re interested, you are welcome to read the three previous posts on the subject, explaining how this village came to be.
After a hot cup of coffee for my husband at the NPS office, we headed over to where the charcoal was made.
If’s off to the right, down this path behind the ironmaster’s home.
In the center left of this photo, just to the left of the fence, you will see the remnants of an old anthracite furnace. This furnace turned out to be a failed attempt at hotblast technology. The charcoal area is just to the left now.
This gives us a good idea of where we are. With Valley Forge only 25 miles away, you can understand why General Washington had the Continental Army camped there. It was to protect the furnaces along the route that were supplying much needed ammunition to the army and navy.
Here we have another endeavor that went south. This is all that’s left of the charcoal kilns that were built in the mid 1800’s in an attempt to modernize the charcoal making process. Below is a photo of what it looked like when it was in operation.
Hundreds of hearths were located up on this hill, where workers turned 5,000 to 6,000 cords of wood a year into charcoal to heat the furnace. They sort of looked like small teepees made of thatch.
The stream is directed to the water wheel which drove the blast machinery.
We continue on down the hill, passing the cast house and the blacksmith shop (seen in previous posts), traveling along the Horseshoe Trail which cuts off to the right here where the tenant houses are located. I didn’t get any photos here because there were a few families who were exploring in the houses. I waited until they were all inside to shoot the photo below.
We’re going to take a right here, and head back into the woods, traveling along Hopewell Lake through French Creek State Park and eventually to our parking spot.
But before we enter the woods, I take one last look at Hopewell Village and my favorite Robert Frost poem comes to mind.
Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village, though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.
My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.
He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sounds the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.
The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
~ Robert Frost
Thanks for coming along on the journey with me. I loved walking on this historic property with you and hope you’ll come with me for future hikes.
Until tomorrow, my friends . . .