|Caledonia Furnace & Iron Works,
Located on Conecocheaque Creek, near the Village of Caledonia,
Caledonia State Park, Franklin County, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.
Date Built: ca. 1837
Date Out-of-Blast: ca.1874
Other names Caledonia Furnace was known by:
|Caledonia Furnace & Iron Works
A Stone Blast Furnace & Iron Works
Owners: Thaddeus Stevens (ca.1837- ? )
Thaddeus Stevens Estate
Undated photo of Caledonia Furnace.
(Photo courtesy of HABS/HAER, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.)
|Reconstructed Caledonia Furnace
The reconstruted half scale, or less, furnace stack of Caledonia Furnace. The stack was reconstructed ca.1927 by the Pennsylvania Alpine Club. It is not know if this reconstruction is on the actual site of the original Caledonia Furnace.
(Photo courtesy of Ed Houk.)
Caledonia State Park. The history of the park is both colorful and varied. The park is named for Thaddeus Stevens' charcoal iron furnace which began operation in 1837. The Honorable Thaddeus Stevens was born in Caledonia County, Vermont and became a famous abolitionist, statesman and father of the public school system in Pennsylvania.
During the Civil War, the area was invaded by Confederate troops. Because of the conflict that was in progress between the North and South and in part due to Mr. Stevens views on freeing those in slavery, the furnace was destroyed in a raid in June of 1863 by Confederate Cavalrymen under the command of General J. A. Early. The scenic watercourse along PA Route 233 was once the millrace that operated the furnace waterwheel.
Pastures were used as field hospitals for the wounded taken from the Gettysburg Battlefield. Today they are playfields for visiting children. (PA DCNR Web site.)
In 1927, the Pennsylvania Alpine Club reconstructed the stack of the old furnace as a reduced scale monument. The reconstructed scale model stack and blacksmith shop are the only visible reminders of the early iron works.
Letters to Thaddeus Stevens on the operations of Caledonia Furnace during the Civil War.
The Caledonia Iron Works were constructed in 1837, by THAD. STEVENS and JAMES D. PAXTON, in Green Township. These men were the firm until 1848, when a heavy indebtedness caused a change, and STEVENS bought out PAXTON, and assumed the entire indebtedness. The new proprietor put MR. WM. HAMMETT in charge as superintendent, who filled the place for twenty years, and was succeeded by MR. JOHN SWANEY, who had charge of them at the time of their destruction in 1863. In the plant were about 20,000 acres of good ore and lumber land. The ore was converted into blooms and marketed in the eastern cities -- average price $65 to $75 per ton. It is supposed that STEVENS lost considerable money by his iron-mills. The mill and machinery were entirely destroyed during the war, by order of GENERAL EARLY.
Mount Pleasant Iron Works were established by the CHAMBERS, about 1783. They afterward passed into the possession of the KINGS, DUNNS and DOYLES, respectively. Through all these various changes, they were operated more or less successfully, until 1829, when they were permanently closed. Being among the earliest of iron-mills in the country, they served in their time a valuable purpose.
The Carrick furnace, four miles north of the Mount Pleasant works, was the substitute that made the latter such a prime necessity. The Carrick furnace was erected about 1830, and continued to be operated through various changes, until 1844, when it closed down for want of patronage.
The Richmond furnace, in Metal Township, at the time of the general depression of the iron trade of the country, banked its furnaces and closed up. It is fully equipped for the production of iron, and it is the intention to start it again into full operation as soon as a change in the trade will warrant it.
This section under construction.
Iron Masters Association
|[no other pictures are presently available for Caledonia Furnace,
Franklin Co., Pa.]
If you have pictures or know of where pictures of the furnace are located or additional information on Caledonia Furnace, Franklin Co., please contact the Ironmaster
If you have additional information or pictures on the Iron
Furnaces of Bedford County, Pennsylvania
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