St. John's Furnace, Fayette County, Pennsylvania


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St. John's - Is below the falls along Indian Creek in Springfield Township. It was built between 1810 and 1815 by Jackson and Gibson. It went out of blast in 1828. It is in poor condition, about 15 feet of stone, with a portion of one corner remaining and the rest of the stones fallen down. The wheel pit and the millrace are visible, and slag is present. (P)(V)(rp-2003, vc/jh-2006))
Start at the junction of PA711 and PA 381 in Normalville. Go west on PA711 a little over 0.1 mile and turn left on a dirt road (T836). This road is marked School House Road on the right but may be called Hollow Road on the left. N 39 59.952' W079 26.984'. Follow this lane down hill. About 1.3 miles down this road you will note two mobile homes, one to the left and one to the right. Also just before these homes you will see a (red) fire hydrant on the right side of the road. A faint unmarked road is to the left. Park near here on a tiny dirt patch at N 39 59.107' W079 27.736'
Walk to the trailhead a tiny dirt path at N 39 59.074' W079 27.805'. The road is marked no trespassing, and there are many barking dogs chained near the mobile home on the left. The owner of the home and dogs said we would not have a problem using this road, so we proceeded to walk down hill on this road about 3/8 of a mile to where the road splits right and left at a small clearing. Taking the left path we proceeded generally down hill toward the creek, listening for the small waterfall at the creek. Near the creek and waterfall we climbed down and over the mill race, looked to the right and the furnace was no more that 100 feet away against the hillside. Total walking distance about 1/2 to mile. Due to heavy tree cover our GPS receiver did not pick up the location of the furnace, but our Go To had us within 119' of the furnace. The GPS location of the furnace and directions were clarified in the fall of 2006 by Vince Ciaramella and John Henke.
GPS Location N 39 58.824' W079 27.632' (rp-2003, vc-jh-2006))
A warning! Back to our car, we met the man who helped us identify this route, and he showed us infra red photos of a mamma bear three cubs and a daddy bear in the area we walked.
. Falls on Indian Creek upstream
from St. Johnm;s furnace - 2006 (vc)

St. John's Furnace - 2006 (vc)

St. John;s Furnace - 2006 (vc)

. St. John's Furnace - 2006 (vc)

St. John's Furnace - 2006 (vc)

St. John's Furnace - 2006 (vc)

St. John's Furnace head race - 2006 (vc)

St. John's Furnace Wheel Pit - 2006 (vc)

St. John's Furnace Special Sources:
A Guide to the Old Stone Blast Furnaces of Western Pennsylvania, Myron B. Sharp and William H. Thomas (s&t)
Vince Ciaramella - St.John's Furnace directions, photos & GPS (vc)
John Henke - St.John's Furnace directions & GPS (jh)

Copyright Richard Parks, Last updated March 18, 2010