Furnace National Historical Park
is one of the finest examples of a rural American 19th century iron
plantation. The buildings include a blast furnace, the ironmaster's
mansion, and auxiliary structures. Hopewell Furnace was founded
in 1771 by Ironmaster Mark Bird. The furnace operated until 1883.
Designated Hopewell Village National Historic Site August 3, 1938;
name changed September 19, 1985. Boundary changes: June 6, 1942;
July 24, 1946. Primarily an area that is significant for its cultural
resources, Hopewell Furnace consists of 14 restored structures in
the core historic area, 52 features on the List of Classified Structures,
and a total of 848 mostly wooded acres.
Furnace was a rural industry; agriculture was integral to its operation
and the community. Most Hopewell families did some farming on the
"iron plantation." Probably no crop grown at Hopewell Furnace was
as important as hay. Hay fueled the dozen of horses which hauled
the charcoal, limestone and iron ore that went into the furnace
and transported to market all of the products the furnace produced.
Hay is made up of grasses and legumes (like clover). They were carefully
preserved by drying to be used as feed in the winter or when the
horses were too busy to graze.