Sunday, October 16, 2011

Amish Country and Hopewell Furnace

Anthracite, or coal, was big in this area, but not until the 1800s. Before that, any forges and furnaces used wood, burned down to charcoal.

Hopewell Furnace, in operation by 1772, was one of America's earliest ironworks. They produced canons, furnaces, pig iron which was sold to blacksmith's, plus they also made iron products such as cookware.

The house built by Mark Bird, founder of the Hopewell Furnace. It not only housed his family, but guests and some of his key employees and their families. A small town built up around the furnace to support the work. Mark Bird even built tenant houses for his workers. At one time there was a store, church, farm and gardens to support the community.

Pig Iron was made here and sold to other forges or blacksmith's elsewhere.

A canon forged here at Hopewell, used during the Revolutionary War.

A furnace made around 1775.

Furnaces made in the 1820s-1840s. After the Revolutionary War, Mark Bird lost the furnce and his farm and it wasn't used again until the early 1800s. It's most productive period was from the 1820s-1840s. At that time anthracite started to be used for iron production and charcoal forges weren't in as much demand. Hopewell Furnace did put in an anthracite furnace, but it was never production. Hopewell Furnace closed down completely by 1883.

Poole Forge was another early ironworks site. This home was built in the 1700s. The furnace itself no longer exists.

A typical Amish Farm in Pennsylvania. Unlike most Amish farms in other states, the farmhouses might be blue, beige, or other colors, instead of the white you usually see.

Like most other areas where the Amish have settled, they have to contend with more modern technology, such as sharing the road with the auto.

New Holland, the town, is right in the heart of Amish country, yet it is also the headquarters for New Holland and Case machinery.

Some of the local towns have names which are unusual today. In the same area are also the towns of Bird In Hand, Blue Ball and Paradise.

Surprisingly to me, I saw many of the Amish barns drying tobacco. I did not realize it was such a substantial crop for the Amish. But according to some literature about the Amish and Mennonites in this area, more than 50% of their income is from non-farm businesses. Much of the non-farm income now is centered around the tourist trade.

1 comment:

Simply Lesa said...

are u still in PA?
I'm currently in Shippensburg, near the University...