Halls Run Furnace, Venango County, Pennsylvania
Halls Run - is along Hall's Run in Cranberry Township(rp), on an island between two forks of the run(jm). This furnace presents a mystery. None of the county histories speak of it(s&t). In 1837 there is no record of a Halls Run Furnace(pbd). In 1840 the name "Hughes and Crawford" appeared on the tax books of Cranberry Township as owners of a furnace. All other furnaces in the county are accounted for so this must be the Hughes and Crawford furnace. Apparently it was never in blast. We searched the vicinity of the furnace for slag and found none. This could account for the fact that nothing has been written about it. The hole or notch for the blast was not centered on the west side. This would have caused the air to enter tangentially. From present day knowledge of blast furnace operation we realize that this was wrong and that the furnace would have been cold. It was definitely built as a cold blast furnace but evidently never blown in(s&t). Since there was no hill for a charging bench the burden must have been raised by a ramp or a water conveyor system. The mill race and wheel pit are in evidence(jm). The furnace is in good physical condition (P)(V)(rp-1977, jm-2003).
To reach Halls Run from the junction of US322 and PA257 in Cranberry, proceed on US322 east (toward Clarion) 0.3+ miles. Turn left onto T558 (Horse Creek Road) and proceed approximately 1.75 miles to the J.R.Biddle farm on the right side of the road. Stop at the farmhouse and ask permission to see the furnace. Two approaches are possible from here
(1) Do not use this approach unless first obtaining permission at the Biddle Farm. Then,
proceed around the barn (and away from T558) on a farm road across the field toward the woods. Proceed through a farm gate at this point and walk diagonally leftward toward a path along the far side of a small clearing. This path will bring you to Halls Run. The furnace stands across the run on a flat clearing at the junction of a small tributary and Halls Run. The furnace can be reached by a foot bridge at this point. (1978).
(2) Continue from the Biddle farm northeast on Horse Creek Road to Meadow Church Road. Turn right and proceed across a bridge over a small tributary of Halls Run. Park here. Walk downstream along the left bank of this run until you reach Halls Run and the furnace site.
Coordinates 41º 21.629'N - 79º 40.355'W.
Three views of Halls Run Furnace. Notice there is no hill for a charging bench.
Photos taken - October 1977
Halls Run Furnace Special Sources:
A Guide to the Old Stone Blast Furnaces of Western Pennsylvania, Myron B. Sharp and William H. Thomas (s&t)
Exploring Venango County prepared for the Venango County Bicentennial Commision, 1976(evc).
J. A. Caldwell (hvc) publisher History of Venango County, by Edward (Kirke) White, 1879
The News Herald, Thur. Jul 27, 1978 (tnh)
Isaac Harris (pbd) publisher The Pittsburgh Business Directory, 1837
Robert B. & Jody Biddle, Seneca, PA
John R. Biddle, Seneca, PA
Hank Edenborn, Finleyville, PA
Copyright © Richard Parks, January 22, 2010