Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site, Elverson

4.7
#33 of 145 in Nature in Pennsylvania
Must see · National Park · Historic Site
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Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site in southeastern

Berks County, near Elverson, Pennsylvania,

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

based around 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), as well as the ironmaster's house, a company store, the blacksmith's shop, a barn and several worker's houses.

Hopewell Furnace was founded about 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
183 reviews
Google
4.8
TripAdvisor
  • We went here on Labor Day, on the way to my son's house. It is not far from the PA turnpike. It was all very interesting. Be sure to see the video on Hopewell. They give you a slice of life 200... 
    We went here on Labor Day, on the way to my son's house. It is not far from the PA turnpike. It was all very interesting. Be sure to see the video on Hopewell. They give you a slice of life 200...  more »
  • The last time I was here was when I was about 10. It is a well-maintained example of 1700-1800's iron making. We had a 10-minute introduction by Johnny, a volunteer ranger that provided a great... 
    The last time I was here was when I was about 10. It is a well-maintained example of 1700-1800's iron making. We had a 10-minute introduction by Johnny, a volunteer ranger that provided a great...  more »
Google
  • Spent a couple hours exploring this national park site. The grounds are lovely to walk around & the buildings are all open. Kids got their junior ranger badges. As per usual, the rangers were attentive & informative.
  • Loved learning about the history of this place. We arrived into the welcome center/gift shop and watched a brief movie of the history. This helped us better understand all the things we were about to see throughout the grounds. Highly recommend watching it first. We got to do a self guided tour of the buildings. There were plenty of staff on site to give demonstrations and explanations. Highly recommend for history fans.

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