Clarion Furnace, Clarion County, Pennsylvania

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Clarion - On Toby Creek in Paint Township, was built in 1828 by Christian Meyers with Henry Bear as designer and expert ironmaster. It was the first furnace in Clarion County. It was 30 or 32' high, 24 ft at base with an 8' bosh, cold blast water powered charcoal furnace, with one tuyere. It became the pattern for other Clarion County furnaces(s&t). In 1837 it was owned by Christian Myers & Co, and had 50 hands working(pbd). It produced from 1200 to 1300 tons in 1847. Clarion iron was shipped to Pittsburgh from the lower bridge at Clarion(ajd). In 1851 Meyers assigned it to his son-in-law Nelson Hetherington. It closed in 1852 due to financial problems(unk).
The exact location of the stack is not known(sh). As late as 1978 there were many large furnace like stones, which may have been from the stack, scattered up the hillside, and across the road toward the creek. The flood of 1996, which destroyed the bridge over the creek, may have obliterated much of this evidence since the 2004 siting found fewer remaining stones.(rp). However, the findings of an archaeological mitigation report, by Scott Heberling, in 2007, has analyzed the remains of the charging bench, and charcoal house, many building foundation remains, retaining walls, and evidence of iron ore charcoal and slag dumps on the site. The slag dumps may have been removed due to the bridge reconstruction(sh). (P)(V)(rp-1978-2004).
Two ways to reach the Clarion Furnace site are given.
(1). Go west from Clarion on US322. After crossing over the Clarion River go another 0.7 miles. Turn right on Kiser-Wagner Road. Continue bearing right on Kiser-Wagner about another 0.8 miles to the junction with Bigley Road. Take a right on Bigley and proceed down to within about 100 feet of where the road approaches Toby Creek. A few stones are to the right against the hillside, and others are across the road toward the creek, however the stack has been covered by the road.(rp) Slag piles exist downstream from this point(sh).
(2)The bridge over Toby Creek, at this point, was washed out in the flash floods of 1996, but is was replaced in 2007. An easier way to reach the site is now possible. Go north from Clarion on SR1006 (Miola Road) 1/4 mile north of the Clarion River and then turning left on Bigley road down to and across Toby Creek. About 100 feet beyond the bridge you will see the stones to the left and to the right.
GPS coordinates 41 14.118'N - 79 23.073'W.(rp-2004)
Other accounts place Clarion furnace on the Clarion River just west of the confluence with Toby Creek. However, we did find the furnace remains as per above directions, and the Heberling report confirms this to be the correct location.

Clarion Furnace stones pushed back
to hill side (west side) of road
October 1978

Clarion Furnace stones pushed toward
Creek side (east side) of road
October 1978

Clarion Furnace stones creek side
October 1978

. Clarion Furnace stones on hillside
of road - October2004

Clarion Furnace Special Sources:
A Guide to the Old Stone Blast Furnaces of Western Pennsylvania, Myron B. Sharp and William H. Thomas (s&t)
Caldwell's Illustrated Historical Combination Atlas of Clarion Co. Pa. J. A. Caldwell(jac) 1877*
History of Clarion County, unknown compiler, cir 1976 (hcc)*
History of Clarion County A. J. Davis (ajd) ed. 1887*
Unspecified Clarion Co. Sources from asterisk list above.(unk)

Scott Heberling
Copyright Richard Parks, Last updated April 24 , 2010