Fremont Furnace, Lawrence County, Pennsylvania
aka McKinley Furnace
Fremont (aka McKinley) - is on a branch off Little Neshannock Creek in Wilmington Township. Constructed by Theodore Powers and A. L. Crawford in 1848. It was a steam powered hot blast furnace built to use charcoal. It has been known as McKinley Furnace because William McKinley, 25th president of the United States worked at it as a boy. His father had an interest in the business(s&t). In 1981 we found a pile of furnace stones at this site. In 2005 we found some slag upstream from the supposed furnace site but did not clearly find a furnace remains. The slag was in the creek and on its east side. (P)(V)(rp1981-2005).
To reach the site of the slag drive to New Wilmington in Northern Lawrence County. Then go south on PA158 from its junction with PA208 about 1/2 mile. Pass the Overlook Medical Clinic on the right side of the road at the top of a hill (Furnace Hill). Just beyond, the highway bears left. An asphalt lane veers to the left at 41º 06.736'N - 80º 20.242'W and runs parallel to the highway for 60-80 feet, crosses a stone lined culvert and then left away from the road. Proceed to the end of this lane to a garage.. Get permission from the owner who lives in the house on the
right. Go around the right side of the garage and follow the meadow down to where an old path leads across the creek. Sharp and Thomas , in the 60's, reported that the furnace was close to the hillside on the left about 50 feet from a path and from the creek. In 2005 we found the slag and what appeared to be furnace stones lining a portion of the pathway, and some stones and rubble in the creek, but no obvious furnace remains. .
GPS coordinates at creekside stone 41º 06.702'N - 80º 20.152'W. (rp-2005)
Al Shaffer who, at one time, lived in New Wilmington, offers another direction to the furnace site. Back in the 40's Al states the furnace was in fairly good condition, but on a location to the south of the slag location described above. To reach this site continue south on PA158 another several hundred yards to a lane leading to the left. This will be at the approximate coordinates 41º 06.537'N - 80º 20.284152'W. Follow this lane beyond its red barrier gate and across an open field to, and into the woods beyond. The furnace would have been next to the hill near the creek at this location. It is believed that a dump has now covered the furnace site, which is on the property of Westminster College.
The approximate coordinates would be
41º 06.702'N - 80º 19.894'W.
We would appreciate any help that can be offered to verify this location. Please recognize that these coordinates are map scaled and not acrually recorded by GPS receiver.
Fremont Furnace 1978
Furnace Stones lining pathway near Fremont
Furnace Special Sources:
A Guide to the Old Stone Blast Furnaces of Western Pennsylvania, Myron B. Sharp and William H. Thomas (s&t)
John Gerber, New Wilmington PA
Al Shaffer- Fremont Furnace site.
Copyright © Richard Parks, Last updated January 30, 2010