Greenwood Furnace State Park

Greenwood Furnace State Park was not always a state park. It was once a company town. Norris, Rawl and Co. had bought an iron company in New Jersey and they needed a constant supply of iron. A location with iron ore, limestone, water and trees was found in upper Huntington County. On July 5th 1834 Greenwood Furnace started pumping out nearly 1,200 tons of iron per day for the next 70 years. By 1842, a gristmill was added and the present recreational lake was built to supply water to power the mill. Upon the success of this factory town formed around it.

The village throbbed with life: the roaring of furnace stacks, the shouts of the workmen, the hissing of the steam engine, the creaking of wagons loaded with charcoal, and the cast house whistle signaling another pour of molten iron. Since the furnaces were hot (3,000 degrees Fahrenheit) and cast clouds of smoke and cinders into the air, which rained down indiscriminately on grass, people, livestock and buildings, rendering everything sooty and gray. Then at night the fire’s ed glow lit the sky, probably allowing residents to walk about without lanterns.

Greenwood Furnace was a village built around an inferno. Then in 1904 when the plant closed the town significantly decreased to just a tiny spec on the map now called Belleville. Then in 1906 the In 1906, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania purchased the former ironworks land and established the Greenwood Forest Tree Nursery to reclaim the depleted forests. The soils at Greenwood Furnace, having been enriched by years of charcoal dust and fly ash, were well-suited for growing trees.

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