Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site
Britain tried to keep the colonies from starting iron works and making anything other than pig iron. Mark Bird started Hopewell Furnace in 1771 and he began producing utensils, stoves and a broad range of competitive products.
When the Revolution began American furnaces, forges, and mills were turning out a seventh of the world's iron goods. Pennsylvania had the abundant raw materials (hardwood, limestone, water), waterpower, and religious tolerance and was perfect for iron mills.
During the war Bird began producing cannons and cannon balls as well as the other items but after the war he found himself deeply in debt and was forced to auction off Hopewell Plantation.
Daniel Buckley bought the furnace in 1800 but also had problems and it closed in 1808. Finally in 1816 it was started up again and this time it ran smoothly until the markets for castings shrank and it was too difficult to change over to anthracite, the furnace was abandoned in 1883.
During the years of operation, Hopewell Furnace was a complete village, with homes, school, stores and everything needed to sustain a small community.
The area is currently under restoration but we were able to walk around and get an idea of how things were done at an iron forge.