Rockland Furnace, Venango County, Pennsylvania


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Rockland - A wonderful site, with a good stack, good millrace, wheelpit and a nice waterfall along Shulls Run in Rockland Township. It was built in 1832 by Andrew McCaslin, who later became the sheriff of Venango County(evc). It was a cold blast water powered charcoal furnace(jm). In 1837 40 hands were working(pbd). An old newspaper account tells that Andrew McCaslin loaded a barge with pig iron from the furnace and started for Pittsburgh with his wife and several other persons. A few miles downstream the barge overturned in some rapids and McCaslin and his wife were drowned. Later the furnace was operated by Rockwell, Dempsey and Week, William Spear and E. W. and H. M. Davis. The Davis brothers operated the plant until it was blown out in 1854(s&t). The site is easy to find, is in a very beautiful area by Freedom Falls. You can view up the stack from the inside. (P)(V)(rp-1977, jm-2003, is,dd,rp-2004).
From the junction of US322 and PA257 (SR2013) in Cranberry follow PA257 (SR2013) south through Rockland to the village of Pittsville. One block beyond the junction of T361 in Pittsville T480 junctions right. Follow T480. About 1 mile south of Pittsville T480 turns sharply and crosses a small run. Continue until you are about 1.5 miles south of Pittsville and look for a large rock on the left. Just beyond the rock listen for the sound of a waterfall. Park here. 41 14.176'N - 79 44.898'W. Enter the woods at this point and take the path to the left toward Shulls Run. The path branches after about 50 yards. The left path leads to Freedom Falls and the top of the furnace, and the right path to the base of the furnace and the millrace. Ian Straffin placed a GPS Cache near the furnace at 41 14.175'N - 79 44.839'W.
The furnace GPS Coordinates are 41 14.138'N - 79 44.863'W(is,rp,dd-2004)

Rockland Furnace - September 1977
Note wheelpit in foreground

Rockland Furnace - September 1977

Rockland Furnace opening
facing south toward creek
September 1977

Rockland Furnace interior bosh
September 1977

Freedom Falls on Shulls Run
above Rockland Furnace - September 1977

Wheel pit at Rockland Furnace
September 1977

Rockland 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
Dan & Chris Dundon, Erie, PA
Ian Straffin, Meadville, PA
Copyright Richard Parks, January 23, 2010