Redbank Furnace, Clarion County, Pennsylvania
aaka New Redank Furnace


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Redbank (aka New Redbank) - Is on Redbank Creek in Madison Township. It was built in 1859 by Thomas McCullogh. Alexander Reynolds became a partner, and McCullogh was replaced by Moorhead and the firm became Reynolds and Moorhead. This furnace was the successor to Old Redbank Furnace across Redbank Creek in Armstrong County. The first stack on this site was 39' high and had an 11' bosh, showing the trend toward larger furnaces started about that time. The stack later was increased to 64' and its equipment was modernized and improved. This was a coke furnace and the coke was made in pits at first but subsequently, by 1887, 40 beehive ovens were built on the charging bench. Redbank was unusual in that the ore, limestone and coal were brought down from the top of the hill on a tramway. Then the ore, limestone and coke were charged into the top of the furnace. The slag was hauled to the Allegheny River, a few hundred yards away, and dumped on the river bank(s&t). Average production was 95 tons per week, when coke was made in pits, but by 1887, with beehive ovens, capacity was 150 tons per week. Abandoned originally in 1883(hcc), In Feb. 1887 historian A.J.Davis(ajd) believed the furnace would reopen soon. It has also been reported to have been in operation until after 1890(s&t). Although little remains of the stack, many coke oven exist, as well as retaing walls and other remains are in a flat area(jm). (V)(rp,ph-2004).
Although this furnace is in Clarion county it is more easily reached from Armstrong County. Starting at Kittanning follow SR1033 north to Mosgrove, crossing the south fork of Pine Creek. Go right on SR1034, becomes SR1031 (left) toward Templeton. At the north edge of Templeton turn abruptly left to SR1003, cross Mahoning Creek, and follow this road 4.1 miles to Widnoon and the junction with SR1004. Go left on this road 1.5 miles to its junction with SR1002, then right on this road for 3.4 miles to its end at the junction of Redbank Creek and the Allegheny River. Use care in driving into the parking area at the junction. 40 58.886'N - 79 32.970'W. Park here. This is probably going to be the trailhead for the unfinished Armstrong rail trail. Walk across the old railroad bridge (carefully) into Clarion County and turn right at the first path 40 58.951'N - 79 333.017'W This will bring you back to the railroad right of way at 40 58.981'N - 79 33.007'W. Walk right on the trail paralleling Redbank Creek. About 100 yards from the bridge you will see a level bench on the hillside. Climb up the hill and you will see the remains of old coke ovens and some building foundations. There is a lot of coke in the area. Below the ovens and further up the creek we found what appeared to be the remains of an old millrace. Jim Mayuric found a pair of retaining walls which may have been a part of the furnace complex. Following farther up the creek. When the hill recedes from the trail (approximate coordinates 40 58.971'N - 79 30.959'W) go left into the woods. Per S&T in this level area there were many old house foundations. (We did not explore this area in 2004).(P)(V)(rp,ph 2004)

Structure remains at Redbank - October 2004
Probably a coke oven remains

Coke ovens at Redbank - December 2006

Cole oven at Redbank - December 2006

. Retaining wall at Redbank - December 2006



Artifacts discovered at Redbank. The coins may have been used as exchange at furnace community company stores. Trackman and Trainman badges were probably from the old Pennsylvania Railroad that served the Redbank community.
Redbank 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)
Pat & Michael Hom, San Diego, California
James E. Mayuric, Armstrong Co., PA
Copyright Richard Parks, January 20 , 2010