In the 1700s and 1800s, plantations in the South produced tobacco, cotton, and rice. In the North, they produced iron.
Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site recreates one America’s oldest and most productive “iron plantations.” At its peak, the Hopewell Furnace processed nearly 700 tons of iron every year.
Because they worked long shifts, iron miners and furnace workers had to live close to their jobs. Iron mining companies built homes, stores, and schools to serve the laborers and their families.
As you wander through this 848-acre park, you can easily imagine the small community bustling with activity. A self-guided tour takes you inside the historic structures and reveals how iron was produced and how the families who worked here turned the iron plantation into a community.
See the massive water wheel that powered the furnace, which burned at 2,800 degrees. Learn what women did while their husbands and sons were at work.
In the summer, living history demonstrations bring Hopewell Furnace to life. In the fall, you can pick apples from the same kinds of trees that grew in the orchard here two hundred years. Hiking trails take you by the Bethesda Church, a mile away, and into French Creek State Park.