Monticello Furnace, Armstrong County, Pennsylvania

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Monticello - Was along the Allegheny River in Rayburn Township. It was built in 1859 by Robert E. Brown of Kittanning. He operated it successfully for several years(s&t). In 1863 it was sold to McKnight, Martin & Co., later McKnight, Porter & Co. The furnace provided employment for as many as 200 people, and its aggregated product was 60,000 tons of pig iron, which found markets in Pittsburgh and Kittanning. Between 1866 and 1874 20,000 tons of Lake Superior ore were mixed with native (carbonate) ores producing a superior quality of neutral iron, well adapted to the manufacture of nails, hoop iron and tool steel. The Allegheny Valley Railroad was extended to this point in 1865 or 1866 probably to service the furnace with ore. The furnace operations were discontinued in 1875(hac). There is very little left on this site except a nice retaining wall and lots of slag piles, the later extension of the railroad covering the site of the stack. (P)(V)(rp-2004).
Proceed north from the courthouse in Kittanning on SR1033 for three miles to where the bridge crosses Cowanshannock Creek. Cross the bridge and park at the northeast corner of SR1033 and McMillen Road at the Bernard C. Snyder Picnic site. Cross back over SR1033 to the Armstrong Rail Trail between the road and the Allegheny River. Walk the trail to the right (north) about 0.5 miles and you will see the retaining wall for Monticello furnace on your right The furnace itself stood on the present trail right of way. There are large piles of slag between the trail and the creek.
GPS coordinates 40 51.233'N - 79 30.027'W (rp-2004).

Two views of Retaining Wall at Monticello Furnaace site of abandoned Pennsylvania Railroad right of way. Furnace site was on old right of way or between right of way and Allegheny River to the left. - date November 2004

Anotjer view of retaining wall at Monticello Furnace - November 2004

Monticello 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, Last updated February 4, 2010