Eliza Furnace, Cambria County, Pennsylvania
aaka Ritter Furnace

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Eliza (aka Ritter) - is on the North branch of Blacklick Creek near its junction with the South branch in Buffington Twp. Indiana County and Blacklick Township Cambria County on the county line. Eliza was built in 1846 or 1847 by David Ritter and Lot Irvin. It was a hot blast, water powered, bellows driven, charcoal furnace with a 9' bosh and 32' height. The stonework was done by Thomas Devereaux, a stone mason, and two Irishmen, John and William Gillin. It had an 1800 ton yearly capacity but produced no more than 1000 tons (1848) It was abandoned in 1849(idt/jm), or 1848 according to the 1859 Iron Manufacturers Guide(s&t). It may have been shut down due to failure of the original railroad main line to pass through the Blacklick watershed, resulting in a poor transit to the markets(whe/rp).
It is one of the best preserved of any PA iron furnace The county line passes through the center of the stack(rw). It was purchased by the Cambria County Historical Society in 1963 to be preserved as a monument to the men of the early iron industry in Cambria County. One interesting thing about this furnace is the iron heat exchanger which is still in position on top of the stack. The waste heat was used to heat the blast which was blown through this exchanger before entering the furnace(s&t). (P)(V)(rp-1978-2004).
The county line of Indiana County, Buffington Township and Cambria County, Blacklick Township passes through the center of the stack(rw). Go east from Armagh on US22 from its junction with PA56
N40 27.34 ' W079 01.94'
Drive east 3.2 miles to SR2013 Wehrum Road N40 26.60' W078 58.42'.
Turn north on SR2013 Wehrum Road for at least 4.8 miles to the Rexis Access Area near the intersection with SR3045
N40 29.10' W078 55.27'.
You may park at the Rexis Access Area on your right and walk east across the creek, about 200 yards, toward Vintondale, or you may drive across the creek and park near the Ghost Town Trail trailhead. You will see the furnace on the left next to the hill and close to the creek.
GPS coordinates N40 29.053' W078 55.329' (rp-ph 2004) -->

Eliza Furnace - November 1978

. Eliza Furnace - November 1978

Eliza Furnace - October 2004

Eliza Furnace - October 2004

Eliza 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, CA
Ed Patterson, Indiana County Parks & Trails(ep)

Copyright Richard Parks, Las updated February 11, 2010