Valley Furnace, Venango County, Pennsylvania
aka Orleans Furnace
Valley (aka Orleans) - is along Sugar Creek near Wyattville in Sugar Creek Borough. This is probably one of the easiest furnaces to reach and offers the non-hiker a chance to examine a stack in a fair state of preservation. It was built about 1845(evc) or in 1848(s&t) by Wellington, Lee and Porter. It should have been one of the county's largest producers as its capacity was 1800 tons per year. It fell short of this however, and in its best year produced only 700 tons(evc). A newspaper account of 1850 speaks of E. Barrett Gray of Orleans Furnace who was half partner of the firm of Raymond and Gray, owners of the furnace(s&t). Raymond and Gray had renamed the furnace Orleans, and as late as 1853 it was still in operation by Pittsburgh owner Shoonmaker(evc). Valley is a round furnace made of cut stone, with four openings
and about 10 lower rows of stone remaining. Per evc the top portions of the furnace were removed to use in road construction. The millrace and quantities of slag can be found near the furnace site. (P)(V) (rp-1977, jm,he-2003).
From Franklin proceed west on US322 to Wyattville. Turn right on PA427 and proceed 0.4 miles. The furnace is on the left in a thicket no more than 25 yards from the road. If you cannot see the furnace, because of the growth of foliage, look for the millrace embankment and follow it to the furnace. (1978). In September of 2003 Hank Edenborn visited this site and has provided us with GPS coordinates.
GPS location 41º 27.205' - W079º 53.755'
Valley 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
John Markiel, Ohio
Hank Edenborn, Finleyville, PA
Copyright © Richard Parks, January 24, 2010