Bear Creek Furnace, Armstrong County, Pennsylvania


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Bear Creek - Was built in 1818 along Bear Creek in Perry Township south of Parker by William Stackpole and Ruggles Whitney. It was the first furnace built in Armstrong County. The builders failed before the furnace was completed and Baldwin, Robinson, McNickle and Beltzhoover finished it. It was intended for coke but the blast was too weak and the furnace chilled after 2 or 3 tons of iron were produced. The use of charcoal solved the problem. Raw bituminous coal was also tried. The furnace produced as much as 40 tons of pig iron a week, which was unusual at that time. In 1832 it was the largest furnace in the United States. The furnace went out of blast prior to 1850. A tramway with wooden rails took the iron to the river for shipment to Pittsburgh. Its course can be followed in places(s&t).
(P)(V)(rp-1977-2005.)
In Parker, turn south on Jackson Avenue, at the First Presbyterian Church. Continue south on this street, which becomes gravel, down to near the creek. You will note a gated road to the left which was the old railroad right of way. Park here. Walk to the left and toward the hillside about 50 feet. Look down over the embankment, and about 50 feet down the hill you will see the ruins of the old furnace.
GPS coordinates 41 04.764'N - 79 41.328'W . (50 feet above furnace.) (rp-2005)

Bear Creek Furnace - November 1977

Bear Creek Furnace - November 1977

Bear Creek Furnace - November 1977

. Bear Creek Furnace - November 1977

Bear Creek Furnace Special Sources:
A Guide to the Old Stone Blast Furnaces of Western Pennsylvania, Myron B. Sharp and William H. Thomas (s&t)
Pat & Michael Hom, San Diego, California (ph)
Copyright Richard Parks, Last Updated January 31, 2010