Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site, Elverson

#32 of 149 in Nature in Pennsylvania
Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site in southeastern

Berks County, near Elverson, Pennsylvania,

is an example of an American 19th century rural "iron plantation,"

based a charcoal-fired cold-blast iron blast furnace.

The significant restored structures include the furnace group

(blast furnace, water wheel, blast machinery, cast house and charcoal house),

plus the ironmaster's house, company store, blacksmith's shop, barn and several worker's houses.

Hopewell Furnace was founded c. 1771 by ironmaster Mark Bird, son of William Bird, who had been one of Pennsylvania's most prominent ironmasters. The site's most prosperous time was during the 1820-1840 period with a brief return to significant production during the American Civil War. In the mid 19th century changes in iron making, including a shift from charcoal-fueled furnaces to anthracite-fueled steel mills rendered smaller furnaces like Hopewell obsolete. The site discontinued operations in 1883.

In 1938 the property was designated Hopewell Village

National Historic Site under the authority of the Historic Sites Act, thereby becoming one of the

earliest cultural units of the National Park System.

Today, Hopewell Furnace consists of 14 restored structures, 52 features on the List of Classified Structures, and a total of 848 mostly wooded acres. Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site is located in the Hopewell Big Woods and bordered by French Creek State Park on three sides and State Game Lands 43 on the south side, which preserves the lands the furnace utilized for its natural resources.
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Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site Reviews

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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5
175 reviews
  • Off the beaten path. This gem is easy to miss. Great Americana. Called an "Iron Plantation," the blast furnace, water wheel, machinery, cast house and charcoal house are unique. This predates the use....  more »
  • It’s always been on our todo list after seeing the “brown sign” on the turnpike. Glad we went! We really weren’t sure what the location had to offer but the ranger was available and very friendly...  more »
  • We enjoyed the park and learning about the production of pig iron. The movies in the visitor center were well made and very informative. We didn't like that it wasn't really handicap friendly. The path was gravel and difficult to use a walker on. However, the one park ranger insisted that we see the casting shed and brought the cart down so that my mother would be able to see it also.
  • Well maintained and interesting. The furnace is far more massive and impressive then any pictures can show. Great place to stroll around on a nice day. They had a horse and the best waterfountain

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