Martha Furnace, Clarion County, Pennsylvania
aka Polk Furnace


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Martha (aka Polk) - Is 1-1/4 miles south of Reidsburg on PA68 in Monroe Township. Built in 1844 or 1845 by Christian Myers. Named for President James K. Polk, but changed to Martha when Myers became angry with Polk because of the repeal of the 1842 tariff. It was built as a successor to Clarion Furnace where ore and timber were becoming scarce. Later owned and managed by Myers' son-in-law Nelson Hetherington, who was manager most of its time of operation.. Bought by Lyon, Shorb and Co. but never operated by them. Martha was a cold blast charcoal furnace(jm). Production up to 1847 was 1000 tons and in 1854 1,260 tons. The iron was shipped to Pittsburgh by flat boats from the lower bridge in Clarion(ajd). Dismantled in 1856 due to scarcity of timber(hcc/s&t). Only a few rows of stones remain and the condition has deteriorated markedly from 1977 too 2005 .(P)(V)(rp-1977-jm-2003, rp-2005).
Take PA68 south from Reidsburg around a long right hand curve and look for Over Road coming in from the left. (41 08.368'N - 79 24.911'W). The furnace is on the north (right) side of PA68 and behind and slightly to the left of a house across from Over Road. It is in a thicket of pine trees and brush, and up the hill about 20 feet. Only a few rows of stone are visible. Below the hill is a large depression, which could have been the wheel pit or boiler house location. The furnace is quite a distance from the nearest major creek, Piney Creek, and we do not know if it received water from that source.
GPS coordinates 41 08.401'N - 79 24.911'W. (rp 2005)

Martyha Furnace Remains - 1977

Martha Furnace remains - October 2005
Note much diminished condition

Martha Furnace Remains - October 2005

. Martha Furnace Remains - October 2005


Martha 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)
John Markiel, Ohio

Copyright Richard Parks, January 18, 2010