Alliance Furnace, Fayette County, Pennsylvania
aka Jacob's Creek, Alliance Iron Works, Turnbull's Iron Works, Colonel Holker's Iron Works


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Alliance (aka Jacob's Creek, Alliance Iron Works, Turnbull's Iron Works, Colonel Holker's Iron Works) - probably the oldest furnace remains west of the Allegheny Mountains. It was built by William Turnbull, agent for Pennsylvania revolutionary war troops, John Holker (Holkar) of France, an agent general for the French Navy and Peter Marmie, a French associate of Holker. The construction was started before the land was owned. Turnbull took possession of three tracts of land of 301, 301 and 219 acres respectively in July 1789. Turnbull and Marmie took ownership of another 223 acres in nearby Lower Tyrone Township. It was blown in November 1789, and operated until 1802(s&t). S&t states "On Jan. 6, 1792, Gen. Henry Knox, Secy of War, suggested to Major Gen. Isaac Craig, (Pittsburgh) that he buy shot for six pounders from Turnbull and Marmie. Fifteen days later he said in another letter that he was not sorry he ordered the shot, and that he wanted to get proposals for cast shot, shell, cannon and howitzers, etc. The shot and shell was produced for Mad Anthony Wayne's expedition against the Indians". The remains are along the south bank of Jacobs Creek, just across the creek from Westmoreland County, in Perry Township near the Youghiogheny River. The furnace is in very poor condition with all the external walls fallen down, with portions of only three showing. A good portion of the inner stack lining is still visible. A large stone retaining wall for the charcoal house also exists. Much slag abounds but its condition, with inclusions of charcoal, wood and iron, suggest the operation was not efficient(s&t). (P)(V)(rp-1978, rp,ph-2003).
Follow PA51 south to PA981 to the east. This road joins PA51 about 200 yards south of the intersection of PA51 and Interstate 70. Follow PA51 for 2.1 miles to Second Street in Smithton and turn right. You will now be on SR3029 which you will follow 2.2 miles to the village of Jacobs Creek. Turn right and go 0.3 mile to a bridge to the right over Jacob's Creek. Cross the bridge and follow this road SR1002 3.6 miles to a dirt crossroad T568. There will be a Cross Road sign at this point.
N 40 06.052' W079 43.052'. There is a white house and a garage to the left (north) at the intersection, but the road is merely a farm path, and apparently no longer a township road, Turn left into this farm road and proceed a little over 0.1 mile where you reach a gated entry into state game lands. Park off the path at this point. Walk on the road into the game lands. At the railroad track turn left and follow the road parallel to the tracks and under the railroad and around down the hill to the creek. The furnace is about 50 feet to the right of the road and about 100 feet from the creek. Total walking distance about 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 miles.
GPS Location N 40 06.770' W079 43.081' (rp-2003)
We also plotted a route from Dawson on the Youghiouheny River.
Starting at the junction of PA819 and Railroad Avenue in Dawson
N 40 02.767' W079 39.326'. Travel north on PA819 about 0.8 miles to the junction with Banning Road, SR1002. There will be an Alliance Furnace sign at the intersection.
N 40 03.282' W079 38.955'. Turn left onto SR1002 and continue to the crossroads with T568 (as above). This is a straight line leg of 4.82 miles but will be longer on the road. (You will see another Alliance Furnace sign prior to the crossroads).
N 40 06.052' W079 43.052'. Turn right onto the farm road and continue as above
A better approach may be to park in the State Gamelands parking lot, which is a little more than 0.1 mile east of the Crossroads on the north side of SR1002.
N 40 06.069' W079 42.914'
Follow the hunters path generally north until it merges with the road into the gamelands. Continue as above. (rp-2003).

Allianec Furnace - 1978

Alliance Furnace - Top of Bosh - 178

Alliance Furnace - October 2003

. Alliance Furnace - October 2003

Retaining Wall - Alliance Furnace - October 2003

Alliance Furnace Special Sources:
A Guide to the Old Stone Blast Furnaces of Western Pennsylvania, Myron B. Sharp and William H. Thomas (s&t)

Copyright Richard Parks, last updated March 14, 2010