Laurel Hill Furnace, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania


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Laurel Hill - This well preserved cold blast charcoal furnace, the best in Westmoreland County, is on Baldwin Creek in St. Clair Township .It was built in 1845 and 1846 by Hezekiah Reed, Gallagher and Hale. It was later owned by Judge J. T. Hall of Centre County. Not much is known about this furnace. One account says it went out of blast in 1855 and another says it was in blast in 1860(s&t). The site was acquired by the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy in 1973 and was donated to the Ligonier Valley Historical Society in 1991(lvh). The furnace has four arches compared with the usual two or three. It is fastened together with four tie rods in each direction. The owners have kept the brush cut so the stones have not been pushed apart by roots. Because of lack of fall in the creek at this point, a wheel pit 35 feet deep was dug and lined with cut stone. From the bottom of the pit a 4' diameter tunnel, also lined with cut stone, goes downstream a quarter of a mile where it emerges by the stream(s&t). (P)(V)(rp 1978, jm-2003, rp-2004).
At the eastern edge of town turn south on SR1003 Boswell Road (per Penndot), or Sugar Run Road (current marking) for about 0.64 miles then bear left on T899 (Furnace Lane). Cross the creek and bear right on T962 about 200 feet to the furnace on the left side of the road next to the hill.(Total distance from PA711 is about 0.8 miles). It is the best maintained furnace in the county (other than maybe the California rebuild), with four arches. The stack is only a few yards from the road.
GPS coordinates 40 22.018'N - 79 03.559'W.(rp-2004)

Approaching Laurel Hill Furnace
lookonh Northeast - October 2004

Laurel Hill Furnace - October 2004
looking north

Laurel Hill Furnace - October 2004
looking northwest

Laurel Hill Furnace Special Sources:
A Guide to the Old Stone Blast Furnaces of Western Pennsylvania, Myron B. Sharp and William H. Thomas (s&t)

Copyright Richard Parks, January 14 , 2010