RVery Best Nest

Come join Joe, Mallery & I, as we travel around the USA in our RVery Best Nest. God's Favor has been chasing us down, and we are enjoying all of His blessing's, that He has created for all to enjoy!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Cornwall Furnace, Pennsylvania

While at the PA Dutch Country Campground, we decided to take a country drive on Hwy. 419 and 501. In a brochure, these roads were recommended as a scenic drive in Amish and Mennonite Country. While on the drive we stopped at a farmers store, on their property and got some tomatoes, new potato's, sugar peas, and a zucchini whoopie pie. The whoopie pie (alternatively called a gobblack-and-whitebob, or "BFO" for Big Fat Oreo) is an American baked good that may be considered either a cookiepie, or cake. It is made of two round mound-shaped pieces of chocolate cake, or sometimes pumpkin cake, with a sweet, creamy filling or frosting sandwiched between them.[1]  While considered a New England phenomenon and a Pennsylvania Amish tradition,[2] they are increasingly sold throughout the United States.[1] According to food historians, Amish women would bake these desserts (known as hucklebucks at the time) and put them in farmers' lunchboxes. When farmers would find the treats in their lunch, they would shout "Whoopie!"[1] It is thought that the original Whoopie pies may have been made from cake batter leftovers.[3] 

    I asked the farmers if they were Amish. She told us they were Mennonites. The Amish and Mennonite, are from Dutch descendants. I ask what the difference was between the Amish and the Mennonite, and she told me, they use automobiles and electricity, and the Amish do not. I understand there are several secs of their religion in this area. There is also a sec that is called Brethren. I am not sure how they differ. If I have time I need to do some research. 
While driving,  we also saw this sign and wanted to stop.

This is the only surviving intact charcoal cold blast furnace in the Western Hemisphere, that attests to the once great iron industry that flourished in south central Pennsylvania. The building to the left in the picture was the 19th century Charcoal Barn. There are now displays and exhibits on ore mining, charcoal making, and iron making. The museum and store are free. If you want to take the tour inside the furnace building with a guide, it cost $6.

The connecting shed, protected charcoal from inclement weather, as it was being transported in carts to the Furnace Building. The building on the far right was constructed in the mid-1800s when the furnace was remodeled and enlarged.

This is a view of the Furnace Building as we walked around it. It was done in  Gothic Revival design, by the then new owner Robert Coleman.

When Peter Grubs, who started and owned the mine and furnace died in 1754, the operation went to his two sons. His two son's ran the business through the Revolutionary war, providing canon's and canon balls. George Washington came to Cornwall Furnace to inspect the operation during the war.  By 1798, the Grubb family sold out to Robert Coleman.

Across the street is the Paymaster's Office.

When Robert Coleman owned the business, his plantation was 10,000 acres at it's peak.

Back side of the Paymaster's Office. It is now use as a art studio.

Down the road from the Paymaster office is the Ironmaster's Mansion, (which was the owner of the Cornwall Iron Furnace Company). Peter Grubb's son Curtis built this 19 room mansion.When Robert Coleman purchased and became the Ironmaster, he was so successful that he became Pennsylvania's first millionaire. When Robert Coleman's son William live in the mansion, he remodeled it into 29 rooms and is called today the Buckingham Mansion.
View of the side of the mansion. Today the whole area is a retirement community. Along side of the mansion there are many building with retirement apartments. There are also a few apartments in the mansion.

We drove down Boyd Street behind the old Furnace Building and got a glimpse of the old mine which is now a lake.

Further down from the old mine/ lake is the housing district that the Ironmaster built to house is miners and furnace workers.

The Cornwall Furnace closed in 1883, when newer furnace technique operations were developed. The furnace was abandoned leaving the building intact, until it was donated in 1932 by Margaret Coleman Freeman Buckingham, the great-granddaughter of Robert Coleman. (Yes I wonder if I am related to Margaret Coleman's 2nd husband - Freeman). The workers quarters put up for sale and many of the workers bought the homes.

 Bethlehem Steel bought the mine between 1916 and 1922. Strip mining and underground mining extracted ore from the ground.

During Hurricane Agnes in 1972, the mine began to fill with water.

A miner statue in the middle of the minor and furnace workers community.

We left the historic workers street and headed home.

We made one last stop to get a picture of what use to be the Ironmasters gatekeepers home at the beginning of the plantation.

Here is the gate that he would open to let people onto the plantation.

The home is a private residence today. Pennsylvania produced one-seventh of the world's iron during this colonial period.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks so much for this tour! I used to teach near here, and really enjoyed seeing your photos!