Slab Furnace, Venango County, Pennsylvania


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Slab - is along East Sandy Creek in Cranberry Township. It was built in1832 by William Cross, one of Venango County's first iron masters(evc). It received its name, so the story goes, from the peculiar manner in which it was built. "A trench was dug around a space of ground the size the furnace was to be. He then erected posts, some 20' high, setting them 2' apart, and then sided up the inside with slabs." As far as we can tell now, the furnace was built the same as any other -- that is, of flat field stones, not cut stones, and probably this is the reason for the name "Slab." Slab Furnace may have been owned by John Lyon in 1837, since the Pittsburgh Business Directory of that time indicated he had a furnace on East Sandy Creek with 40 hands working. Since there was no other known furnace on East Sandy this may have been Slab(pbd). The plant was abandoned sometime after 1839(s&t). Apparently the construction did not prove durable since the stack was rebuilt in 1840 by James Hughes(evc). One side of the stack has fallen down revealing the inner lining, but the stack is otherwise in fairly good condition. The wheel pit and millrace are visible. (P)(V) (rp-1977, rp,is,dd-2004).
From the end of the 8th Street bridge in Franklin take US322 east 5.6 miles to Bucktails Road (T514). Turn south (right) on Bucktails Road and proceed to its end at junction with Victory Church Road and Slab Furnace Road (T512). Turn left on Slab Furnace Road and proceed down the hill until you reach a farmhouse on the left flat before the bridge crossing East Sandy Creek. You must stop at the farmhouse and ask permission to visit the furnace. The owners are very reluctant to allow visitors due to the high liability. The furnace is to the left. You must cross two electric gated fields to reach the furnace which is in a thicket about 40 feet from the creek.
GPS Coordinates 41 19.337'N - 79 44.031'W.(rp,is,dd--2004)

Slab Furnace - November 2004

Slab Furnace - Mpvember 2004

Slab Furnace - November 2004

. Slab Furnace - Novemvber 2004

Slab 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 24, 2010