Union #1 & Union #2 Furnaces, Fayette County, Pennsylvania
aka Dunbar Furnaces
Union #1 and #2 (aka Dunbar) - Two furnaces near each other on Dunbar Creek in Dunbar Township apparently also known as Dunbar Furnace(s). Union #1 was built in 1791 by Isaac Meason on Dunbar Creek , 4 miles south of Connellsville(s&t). According to a chart in the booklet "Dunbar ---The Furnace Town-page 27" this first furnace, Union #1, was a very small furnace estimated to be 12' high with a 3.5' bosh and producing only ¾ ton per day, however it was said to be a financial success, probably due to the very good quality of the Dunbar iron which was in great demand. It was the second furnace built west of the Allegheny Mountains, but the first one, Alliance, was not profitable(dcm). In 1793 it was replaced by a larger furnace, Union #2, (later called Dunbar #1) built downstream from the first site and on the south side of Dunbar Creek(s&t). This was a "modern tall blast furnace", 32' high with a 9' bosh and producing from 1.5 to 4 tons per day. The Dunbar complex continued to expand for many years changing names, Union Iron Works about 1800, Youghiogheny Iron & Coal about 1860, Dunbar Iron Company 1869, Dunbar Furnace Co. 1876. Isaac Meason built two other early furnaces in Fayette County, Mt. Vernon and Center. After Isaac Meason died in 1818, the ownership of Union Iron Works passed to his son Isaac Meason Jr. and then in 1843 to a series of different owners and operators. During the ensuing years the stack(s) were rebuilt and enlarged repeatedly. There may have been as many as four other stone furnaces at the expanding "Dunbar" complex on the south side of Dunbar Creek at Dunbar. Dunbar #2 35' high with 9' bosh and three others including Dunbar #5 with a height of 49' and a 12.5' bosh. This last furnace built in 1869, collapsed and was raised, and thereafter the newer furnaces had iron stacks. (#6 through #10). The last owner was the American Manganese Mfg.(1914-24)(dcm). The Dunbar works lasted until 1930 when the depression closed it permanently(s&t). (P)(V)(rp,ph-2003, rp-2004).
To reach the site of the Union furnaces, take US119 south from Connellsville to the junction with Furnace Hill Road N 39° 59.043' W 79° 37.836' Go left on Furnace Hill Road to Dunbar and the bridge over Dunbar Creek on SR1055 N 39° 58.304' W 79° 36.831'. Go east on SR 1055 0.6 mile to where SR1055 makes a left bend and an old road leads right toward an abandoned bridge N 39° 58.152' W 79° 36.229. At this point the old log houses that s&t spoke about as being to the right are now replaced by newer homes, and the old bridge across the creek is now only a steel framework with no top surface. In the fall of 2003 we saw a pile of cut stone that looked like furnace stone in the middle of the old road to the bridge, but they were not there in 2004 having been utilized for landscaping projects in nearly homes. Looking down stream we did see the foundation of the plant that was built on the site of Union #2 furnace.
To reach the site of Union #1 go to the second house on the right beyond this old road. Ask for Gary or Mary Garletts, the present owners and seek permission to view the ruins which are in back of the house and down the hillside near the creek. There is another way to get to the site by going east from the Garlett's home, upstream and parallel to the creek, and by working your way down to creekside on a more gradual incline. Then following the creekside downstream you will arrive back at Union #1 site. This route is full of thick underbrush and brambles and a small clippers would be a handy tool.
GPS coordinates 39° 58.101'N - 79° 36.130'W. (rp 2004).
A nearby resident states that he is aware of someone removing stones from the area.
Although there may have been more stone furnaces in the Dunbar Iron Works Complex we discuss only Union #1 and #2. This suggests there may be more research required.
Union #1 Furnace-October 2004
Union #1 Furnace - October 2004
Rermains of Railroad bridge acroos Dunbar Creek
between sites of Union #1 and #2 furnaces, Dunbar, PA
Wall of Dunbar Works at site of Union #2 furnace
Union #1 and #2 Furnaces Special Sources:
A Guide to the Old Stone Blast Furnaces of Western Pennsylvania, Myron B. Sharp and William H. Thomas (s&t)
Donald C. Morrison(dcm) Dunbar 1883inc~1983 The Furnace Town, The Dunbar Borough Council - The Centennial Book Committee 1983, Author p1 through 41
Hist.Society of Dunbar, Dunbar, Pa.
Pat & Michael Hom, San Deigo, CA
Gary Garletts, Dunbar, PA
Copyright © Richard Parks, Last updated March 18, 2010