Welcome to Venango County Old Stone Furnaces

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Anderson Bullion Castle Rock Clay Crary's Franklin
Glen Halls Run Horse Creek Jackson Jane Kraemer
Liberty Kraemer Lytles McCalmont's McClelland's Mill Creek
Oil Creek Orleans Phipps Porterfield President Raymilton
Reno Rockland Sandy Shippen Slab Stapley
Texas Union Valley Van Buren Victory Webster

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VENANGO COUNTY

in Northwest PENNSYLVANIA at one time had 24 iron furnaces. Two of them were covered by building construction or water. We were able to find and photograph the remains of the 22 others during 1977-78, and again in 1994 and 2004. Many Venango furnaces are especially interesting but require good hikes and navigation to find, namely Bullion, Castle Rock, Liberty and Porterfield. Victory is in the best shape and is a must see. Rockland and Reno are easy to reach and are also interesting. Webster and Slab are very unusual, however Slab will require special permission to visit, as will Halls Run. Van Buren and Union are nice sites but are in very thick brush and trees. If you can find Van Buren, it is worth a visit, as are Anderson and Jackson. Horse Creek and Valley are in the open and easy to find. Venango is great for furnace hunting.

  Rockland Furnace
Rockland Furnace


Franklin (aka McClelland's) - is along Big Sandy Creek in Sandy Creek Township. It was built by George McClelland about 1825-1830(s&t) at the foot of Pecan Hill south of Franklin After McClelland's death in 1834 the furnace was apparently shut down, although the amount of slag in the area suggests that it might have been put in blast again at a later date(evc). In 1837 an account shows no Franklin Furnace in operation at that time(pbd). The ruins of this furnace are still in existence although in very bad condition. A large millrace runs along the base of the hill to the furnace. It then makes an abrupt right turn and the tailrace runs south to the creek(s&t)..Some of the stones from the furnace have fallen into the race(evc). (P)(V)(rp-1977, km-2004).
From Franklin proceed south on route 8 to the junction of SR3013 (Old route 8). SR3013 is a turn to the right shortly beyond the DeBence Music Museum. Proceed down Pecan Hill to the bridge over Big Sandy Creek. Just before the bridge turn left onto a dirt road which then runs parallel to Big Sandy Creek going downstream. Park here. This road is currently marked private keep out. To reach the furnace you would proceed down this road until you notice a pipe line clearing. Follow the pipe line clearing to the base of the hill. At this point turn right along the old millrace about 100 feet to the furnace. The ruins are against the hillside on the left across the millrace. (1978). Karl Mouck provided the GPS coordinates and tells us the furnace is in a heavy briar thicket.
GPS Coordinates 41 20.056'N - 79 53.112'W(km-2004). to top
Halls Run - is along Hall's Run in Cranberry Township(rp), on an island between two forks of the run(jm). This furnace presents a mystery. None of the county histories speak of it(s&t). In 1837 there is no record of a Halls Run Furnace(pbd). In 1840 the name "Hughes and Crawford" appeared on the tax books of Cranberry Township as owners of a furnace. All other furnaces in the county are accounted for so this must be the Hughes and Crawford furnace. Apparently it was never in blast. We searched the vicinity of the furnace for slag and found none. This could account for the fact that nothing has been written about it. The hole or notch for the blast was not centered on the west side. This would have caused the air to enter tangentially. From present day knowledge of blast furnace operation we realize that this was wrong and that the furnace would have been cold. It was definitely built as a cold blast furnace but evidently never blown in(s&t). Since there was no hill for a charging bench the burden must have been raised by a ramp or a water conveyor system. The mill race and wheel pit are in evidence(jm). The furnace is in good physical condition (P)(V)(rp-1977, jm-2003).
To reach Halls Run from the junction of US322 and PA257 in Cranberry, proceed on US322 east (toward Clarion) 0.3+ miles. Turn left onto T558 (Horse Creek Road) and proceed approximately 1.75 miles to the J.R.Biddle farm on the right side of the road. Stop at the farmhouse and ask permission to see the furnace. Two approaches are possible from here
(1) Do not use this approach unless first obtaining permission at the Biddle Farm. Then, proceed around the barn (and away from T558) on a farm road across the field toward the woods. Proceed through a farm gate at this point and walk diagonally leftward toward a path along the far side of a small clearing. This path will bring you to Halls Run. The furnace stands across the run on a flat clearing at the junction of a small tributary and Halls Run. The furnace can be reached by a foot bridge at this point. (1978).
(2) Continue from the Biddle farm northeast on Horse Creek Road to Meadow Church Road. Turn right and proceed across a bridge over a small tributary of Halls Run. Park here. Walk downstream along the left bank of this run until you reach Halls Run and the furnace site.
Coordinates 41 21.629'N - 79 40.355'W. to top
Horse Creek (aka Clay) - is on Horse Creek in the Rockmere Subdivision of Cranberry Township. It was a cold blast charcoal furnace(jm), built in 1836 by Samuel Bell, who was the owner of Oil Creek Furnace. It was blown in during 1838 and was managed by Samuel's son William Bell and William Davis(s&t). The ore that was used came from further up Horse Creek and was part of the same deposit that supplied much of the ore for the Oil Creek Furnace which was located in what is now downtown Oil City. After passing through a number of owners(evc) and after Bell went bankrupt in1843 the plant was sold by the sheriff(s&t). It was purchased in 1844 by Edmund Evans Sr. who renamed it Clay Furnace, and operated it until 1853(evc). It was controlled by Edmund's two sons for two years, and then for one year by Michael Henry before being banked in 1856(s&t). Some of the cut stones were apparently removed for building foundations, and much of the back wall has collapsed, but the remains of the furnace are being preserved through the efforts of local historians and the members of the Rockmere community(evc). (P)(V)(rp-1977, jm-2003, km-2004).
From Oil City proceed north on US62 to the Oakwood Rose Gardens. This is just beyond the PA157 turnoff. Turn left on the road to the Rose Gardens and then quickly left again onto (T708). This road makes two very sharp curves and finally ends at a private road leading to the Rockmere community along the Allegheny River. It is advisable to seek permission before entering this area. The private road leads into the Rockmere cottage area and after this road crosses Horse Creek on a small bridge to the Oil City Boat Club Facilities. The furnace can be seen behind a tennis court on the flat on the right next to the hillside. (1978). Karl Mouck visited this site in 2004 and confirmed the coordinates.
GPS Coordinates 41 25.942'N - 79 39.569'W.(km-2004) to top
Jackson - is on East Sandy Creek in Cranberry Township. It was built by Smullin and Richards in about 1833(s&t/pbd). Shortly after its erection Smullin bought Richards' interests(s&t) and became sole owner as William S. Smullin & Co. In 1837 there were 30 hands at work(pbd). Smullin sold the plant in 1844 to the Hatch Brothers. Thereafter it changed owners several times and was abandoned in 1856(s&t). One of the walls has fallen down but the remainder of the furnace is in good condition. There is a large crack in one side which makes it possible to enter the structure and stand inside the bosh, but this should only be attempted with caution(evc). (P)(V)(rp-1977, jm-2003, is-2004).
From Franklin proceed east on US322 to the village of Van. Just before crossing the bridge over East Sandy Creek turn left onto T391. Approximately 0.4 miles down the road T391 makes a sharp turn to the left. Park here and walk on foot down an old lease road which would be a straight ahead extension of T391 from Van. This road can be driven part way with a jeep type vehicle, until you reach a "no motorized vehicle" sign. About mile down the road the road begins to bear left. At this point look for a faint path on your right. Follow the path about 100 yards and look for the furnace on the right side near the creek. (1978). Ian Straffin visited this site in Aug. 2004 and provided the GPS reading and updated directions.
In 2003 John Markiel visited Jackson Furnace and gives a more detailed description of the approach. From the parking spot a long hike past a hunting cabin and an electric right of way to a split. Split left and look for 3 apple trees on the right. At this point look for an old wagon trail hidden in the weeds and follow it toward the creek. The furnace is on the right buried in the brush(jm).
I believe both of the above descriptions are one and the same route(rp).
GPS Coordinates 41 19.190'N - 79 38.122'W.(is-2004) to top
Jane - along a branch of Scrubgrass Creek near Clintonville, Clinton Township. It was built in 1840 by William Cross, one of Venango County's first ironmasters. It was named for his wife Jane Weakley Cross(s&t). It was run by the Cross family until it went out of blast in 1859. A small village, Janesville, existed during the operation of the furnace, but faded with its closing, and only a few foundations in the woods remain to mark its location(evc). Only a few stones and pieces of lining litter the ground at this furnace site, and the best part of visiting this site is the beautiful hike up Scrubgrass Creek. For the non-strenuous hikers there is an easier route.(P)(V)(rp-1977), (V)(rp-2005)..
From the junction of PA308 and PA208 in Clintonville, take PA208 west 0.5 miles to a bridge across a branch of Scrubgrass Creek. 41 11.949'N - 79 52.962'W. From this point we offer two routes:
(1) Park before crossing the bridge. Follow along the right bank (facing downstream) about 0.4 miles On the left across the creek you will notice two walls and a wheelpit and race which were the remains of an old grist mill at 41 12.281'N - 79 53.048'W. Continuing from here another 1/8 mile, or so, will bring you to a junction with a stream coming in from the left. (To reach this point, from the road, you will pass some very beautiful small falls and rapids). Cross the creek near this point. The ruins are against a hillside to the left..(1978).
(2) Drive across the creek on PA208 and turn to the right on a gravel road parallel to the creek on its west bank. Take this road about 0.3 miles to a gated drive leading down to the Dalrymple property. (It would be best to call Mr. Dalrymple at 412-366-5777 letting him know you are coming. He may wish to arrange to accompany you but, in any event, he will probably approve your visit). Walk down the lane to toward the Dalrymple house and then work your way down to the grist mill walls at the creek near this point. Then proceed downstream to the junction as above. This will be much less strenuous than the first route.
Approximate coordinates 41 12.355'N - 79 53.136'W. to top
Kraemer along Lake Creek north of Cooperstown in Jackson Township. Kraemer was built in 1846 by Lewis Kraemer. He sold it to Steele and Richards, and they sold it to H. Reynolds, who then sold a half interest to Adam Kraemer. They operated it until 1862 when it was abandoned(hvc). S&t failed to locate this furnace and a local historian Guy M. Rogers asked many of the old timers in the area about the furnace. Guy and many others stated there had been a Kraemer forge in the area but only knew about Union, Texas and Liberty Furnaces. So, the assumption by s&t was that Caldwell's, (hvc's) account was wrong and that Kraemer was a forge not a furnace(s&t). No trace has been found.
To reach the vicinity of old Kraemer (forge or furnace), go north from Cooperstown on Lake Creek Road (SR4007) about 1.3 miles or to where the road crosses Lake Creek. This is the approximate site described.
Approximate coordinates 41 30.949'N - 79 53.269'W. to top
Liberty is on a branch of Beatty Run in Jackson Township. It was built in1841 or 1842 by a Dr. Williams and William Geist. It was abandoned in 1853(s&t). The furnace is below a beautiful waterfall. It has been greatly damaged and only a high pile of stones and rubble, and a part of two walls are visible(P)(V)(rp-1977, he-2003, rp/dd2004).
We will give two routes to Liberty Furnace:
(1) From Franklin proceed west on US322 to the village of Hannaville. Turn right at Hannaville onto SR4004 (Decker Run Road) and proceed approximately 3.4 miles to Peters Cemetery (on the right). Turn right on SR4018 (Dominion Hill Road). Go 1.0 mile to Falls Road T352. Turn left on Falls Road. Proceed up the hill about 0.3 miles and park. (When Hank Edenborn visited this site in September 2003 he found all the property up to 0.4 miles on T 352 was posted and some of the homes there were built after 1978, so we will offer a second route that Hank took) The original route took a trail through the woods to the right. Following this trail until it branched left. Taking the right branch until it branched left again. Following this trail down to a waterfall on Beatty Run. Below the falls and across the run the ruins were against the hillside.
GPS furnace location N41 31.570' - W079 55.972'(he-2003).
(2) The optional route continued on SR4018 past Falls Road to the bridge over Beatty Run. GPS location N 41 31.305' W079 55.908'. Parking here follow the run north upstream to the furnace. A remnant of an old road mostly on the right (east) bank makes the hike to the furnace fairly easy.(he). When we did this in Oct. 2004 we followed near the creek and found the last several hundred feet to the furnace to be quite strenuous.(rp,dd-2004)
GPS furnace location N41 31.570' - W079 55.972'(he-2003)(rp,dd 2004). to top
McCalmont's - was on the Allegheny River at Franklin. It was built in 1832 or 1833 by Alexander McCalmont. It was a small furnace about 20' high with a 6' or 7' bosh. McCalmont sold it to Samuel F. Dale in 1834(s&t), who also at one time had a forge in Franklin. In 1837 about 20 hands were working(pbd). About 1842 a frame building about 100 feet square, was built upon the site of the furnace, which was still standing at that time although not in service. A large manufacturing plant now covers the entire area(s&t). No trace remains.
McCalmont's Furnace was about 1/4 mile north of the "upper" bridge in Franklin along the Allegheny River. Now covered by a large industrial building
Approximate coordinates: N41 23.8' - W079 49' to top
Oil Creek (aka Crary's) - was on the East side of the mouth of Oil Creek at the Allegheny River at Oil City. It was erected about 1824 or 1825 by Stockberger, Kinnear and Reuben Noyes, on land purchased from Indian Chief Cornplanter for $2,121. With the furnace, the owners built a foundry, mill, warehouse, boat landing and several homes. In September 1825 William and Frederick G. Crary took over the business and they conducted it for the next ten years with vigor. But in 1835 the property was sold by the sheriff, Andrew McCaslin to William Bell. For fourteen years the Bells, William Bell and son and finally Samuel Bell, operated this furnace as well as Horse Creek Furnace(s&t). In 1837 the operation was called Samuel Bell & Co. and had 40 hands working(pbd). The stack was believed to have stood on approximately the site of the railroad station. In 1964 a Holiday Inn was built over the site of the furnace. While excavating for the foundations part of the old millrace was uncovered(s&t). The current name of the inn is the Arlington Hotel, and slag has been found between the edges of the hotel property and the Allegheny River.(he).
Approximate coordinates: N41 25.9' - W079 42.1' to top
Porterfield (aka Glen or Mill Creek) - is along Mill Creek in Rockland Township. It was built in 1837-1838 by Joseph Porterfield(s&t). In 1837 40 hands were working at the operation(pbd). Charles Shippen bought the furnace and operated it until it was abandoned in 1851-1852. Until about 1959 this furnace was in excellent condition. At that time an ice gorge or high water on Mill Creek undermined one corner and its outer wall collapsed giving a great view of the inner stack which is still in good shape. Cast house foundation(s&t) and wheel pit walls(rp) are visible. Two difficult transits to the furnace are along and down into the waters of Mill Creek, or down a treacherous gulley from above the furnace to the north. The remains, although in poor condition, are magnificent and worth the effort to see(P)(V)(rp-1977, is,dd-2005).
Two routes to Porterfield are:
(1) From the town of Emlenton, at the junction of PA38 and SR2003, turn north (left) on SR2003 at the traffic light. Follow SR2003 up the hill and make a right turn to the cemetery on the left. Turn left at the far end of the cemetery onto Dotter Road. Follow along the bluffs overlooking the Allegheny River for about 4 miles (may be less) and cross Mill Creek. Shortly after crossing Mill Creek the road veers sharply to the left and turns up hill. Park here and walk upstream on the left bank of Mill Creek until you must ford the creek. Do not attempt to climb over the cliff on the left bank. Proceed along the right bank until you must ford again. After the second ford, climb over a small bank and the furnace can be seen on a small flat between the creek and the hillside. Ian Straffin has recorded the GPS location
GPS Coordinates 41 13.905'N - 79 42.802'W.(is-2005).
(2) A much more strenuous alternate route (for the climber) is to proceed up the hill on Dotter Road approximately mile, from the parking spot described above, to the junction with Rockland Township Road (T524) (right). ( This spot can also be reached by driving south from Pittsville on McDowell Road approximately 2 miles to this junction). At the junction look for a gully running downhill to the right back toward Mill Creek. This becomes a rock gorge and can be followed down to the edge of Mill Creek. The furnace is on the flat to the left at this point.(rp-1978).
GPS Coordinates 41 13.905'N - 79 42.802'W.(is-2005) to top
President - along Hemlock Creek in President Township. At President the furnace as well as the rest of the village owed its early existence to the Rev. Ralph Clapp who, with his wife and six children, settled in the area along the Allegheny River in about 1846. In 1854-1855 Clapp and his son Edwin E. built President Furnace along Hemlock Creek about mile from its mouth.(s&t-evc). This cold blast charcoal furnace was circular in shape. In addition to President Furnace the Clapp's built Clinton Furnace that was further up Hemlock Creek in Washington Township, Clarion County(evc). President was about equal in size and capacity to other furnaces in the county but the period for profitable iron manufacture in small blast furnaces was nearing its end, so after a few years the furnace went out of blast(s&t). Only three or four rows of stone remain at this site, the rest probably carted away for use in other construction.(P)(V)(rp-1977, km-2004).
From Oil City go north on US62 to the village of President. Before crossing Hemlock Creek at President SR2023 goes to the right. Take this road about 100 feet to a dirt driveway on the left. Take this driveway until it makes a sharp turn to the right and proceed to where it ends at a group of cottages. Cross the yard of a log cabin on the right and proceed away from Hemlock Creek toward the hillside. Search this area about 100 yards to the right of this cabin until you find the ruins of the furnace. It is beyond a swampy depression and bank which may have been the millrace, and is in very thick and difficult foliage. Only a few rows of stone and one opening remain and it may be hard to find, .although we came on it quite easily. Karl Mouck visited this site in 2004 and confirmed the coordinates,
GPS Coordinates 41 26.805'N - 79 33.143'W (km-2004) to top
Raymilton - is along Sandy Creek in the town of Raymilton in Mineral Township. The village of Raymilton was founded by A. W. Raymond, who built the furnace in 1846. Raymilton operated a number of industries on the site, all of which were run by water power. Included were a store, a mill, and a small foundry where he made plows, hoes, pots, etc. for the local farmers. The name of the village is a contraction of Raymond's Mill Town. During the early spring, before heavy vegetation, several millraces can be seen in the flats on the side of the road. The furnace operated for about 10 years. The furnace is in poor condition. One opening can be seen and parts of three walls are standing. An old building beside the furnace had a large water wheel in the basement. It was used for the furnace and after the furnace was out of blast to drive oil pumps, saw mills, etc(s&t/evc). (P)(V)(rp-1977, he-2003).
Proceed from Franklin west on US62 through Polk and to the junction of SR3015 at the top of Doty Hill. Turn left to the village of Raymilton. Go under the railroad underpass and across Sandy Creek. Park at this point. Walk left parallel to the creek through thick brush (he). There was at one time a dirt road and old building ruins, but when Hank Edenborn visited this site in Oct. 2003 the lane and buildings had disappeared. Approximately one block through the brush you should come to the furnace which is almost in the back yard of a house next to the road paralleling the creek. There should be the remains of the old millrace at this location.
GPS Location N 41 20.182' W079 58.485' (he-2003). to top
Reno (aka North Bend) - along Sandy Creek in Mineral Township. It was built in 1844 by Hoover and Reed(s&t), It is said to have been owned at one time by Lewis T. Reno, father of General Jesse L. Reno, of Civil War fame, for whom both Reno, Nevada, and Reno, Venango County, were named(evc). It was sold by the sheriff in 1848. A large furnace with an 8.5' bosh and a capacity of 1350 tons a year(s&t). It is a great stack in fair to good condition, with portions of the wheel pit and races visible. (P)(V)(rp-1977, he/is/dd/rp/km-2004).
Proceed from Franklin west on US62 through Polk to the junction of PA965. About 0.8 miles beyond this junction a small lane, Saw Mill Road, goes left. (N41 21.256' W079 58.048'). Take this road across a bridge over Sandy Creek to a saw mill property. This property is operated by Huck Miller and his son Dan. They are willing to let visitors across their property but you should seek permission by calling ahead to 814-432-6618. Go to the right and back toward the hillside to pick up the old service road paralleling the creek and going west, and go about 0.6 miles down this road at the ruins of an old saw mill on the left and a deer stand on the right. Park here. (N41 21.277' W079 57.988'). Climb over an embankment on the right. The furnace is below the embankment between the hill and the creek. The wheel pit and millrace are evident, along with a furnace in fairly good condition. .
GPS coordinates location N41 21.265' W079 58.021'(km-2004).N41 21.280' W079 58.020'(rp,dd-2004).
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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) to top
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) to top
Stapley (aka Shippen) - in an open field in Richland Township. It was erected in 1835 by Charles and Richard Shippen, and is sometimes known as the Shippen Furnace(evc). It was named for a relative of the family. It was steam powered(s&t), probably the only one in Venango County, and set some distance back from Mill Creek. In fact, it is quite high up a hill. Until the fall of 2004 it looked like a giant milk bottle standing in the field, with most of the outer stones removed(is) and used as a barn foundation. The barn is no longer there(evc). By the fall of 2005 the "bottle" had collapsed and now only a pile of inner furnace stones remain.(jw) (P)(V)(rp-1977, is-2004, jw-2005).
From Emlenton take PA38/PA208 north to Mariasville. Continue on PA38 for 1.75 miles to a historical marker on the left side of the road. Park here. 41 13.882'N - 79 40.106'W. Take the path from the marker to the furnace, 150 feet from the highway. The furnace can also be reached by taking PA38 south from its junction with US322 through Nickleville. Look for the historical market on the right.
GPS Coordinates 41 13.887'N - 79 40.160'W(is-2004) to top
Texas - along the north bank of Sugar Creek in Cooperstown, Jackson Township. It was built in 1840 by James Porter, of Indiana County. It was leased for a time by McCalmont and Bush and was blown out before 1846(s&t). Most of the cut stones have been removed for other construction(evc) and now only a small pile of furnace stones, bricks and rubble remain. A millrace is visible as well as a field of slag. (P)(V)(rp-1977, is-2004).
From the village of Wyattville (West of Franklin on US322) turn right on PA427 to Cooperstown. After crossing the bridge over Sugar Creek turn left on Foster Road, (Tologo Road per Penndot)(T372), the road that parallels the creek. Follow this for 0.6 miles to a farm on the left side of the road. The furnace is about 0.15 miles behind the barn and to the right. Look for the millrace following the hillside until you see a small pile of stones to the right of the millrace. Slag is plentiful in the area. (1977).
GPS coordinates 41 29.487'N - 79 52.693'W (is-2004)     to top
Union - is along the east side of the Middle Branch of Sugar Creek near Cooperstown in Jackson Township. It was built in 1850 by Dr. Williams and Jacob Geist. They sold it to Hughes and Bevin, who closed it down in 1854(s&t). The round stack is in poor condition, but the openings are intact. It stands in a very dense thicket of brush. The mill race, furnace roads, and many slag piles can be discerned. (P)(V)(rp-1977, is-2004).
From the village of Cooperstown take PA427 north for 1.2 miles. Turn right on Creek Road (T595), cross the bridge over the Middle Branch of Sugar Creek. mile past the bridge turn left on Furnace Road (also shown as White Road by Penndot County map -T384). Proceed exactly 0.18 miles on Furnace Road. The furnace is to the left between the road and the creek. It is difficult to see because of heavy underbrush, therefore the exact location on Furnace Road is important. (1977).
GPS coordinates 41 30.977'N - 79 51.533'W (is-2004)
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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 41 27.205' - W079 53.755' to top
Van Buren - is along Lower Two Mile Run in Cranberry Township. It was built in 1836(evc) or 1838(s&t) by Thomas Hoge and William and Samuel Cross. In 1873 the owners were listed as Cross and Plumer with 25 hands working(pbd). During its lifetime Van Buren was owned at various times by James Eaton, John W. Howe, Solomon Ulmon, and probably John Lyon. It was sold in a sheriff's sale in 1851 and abandoned shortly thereafter(s&t). Bog ore was principally used in this operation and was dug from the hills along Lower Two Mile Run(evc). Most of the outer wall has fallen down but the inner walls stand tall in very heavy underbrush and trees. It is very difficult to spot from the road although a careful look can find it. (P)(V) (rp-1977-2004, is-2005).
From Franklin proceed about 1.6 miles from the east end of the 8th Street bridge on US322 to the junction of SR3025 (Deep Hollow Road). Follow this road up Lower Two Mile Run approximately 1.5 miles, about forty feet past the start of a guardrail on the right and a 50 mph curve sign for westbound traffic on the left. Look over the side toward the creek and you will see the top of the furnace. (1978 and 2004). This land is now posted, but a sign says walk in fishing is allowed.
GPS coordinates at roadside. 41 22.575'N - 79 46.663'W. (rp-2004). Heavy underbrush prevented us from approaching the furnace in Oct. 2004, however Ian Straffin visited the furnace in May 2005 and confirmed the coordinates.
GPS coordinates at furnace 41 22.558'N - 79 46.663'W. (is-2005)      to top
Victory - along Victory Run in Victory Township is a fine, well preserved furnace which can also be entered for a view up the stack. Andrew Bonner built this furnace in 1843. Later owners were Archibald and Joseph Bonner, Alexander Hayes and George Crawford who allowed the furnace to fall into decay. Crawford sold it to R. C. Shorts. The furnace went out of blast probably in 1850. It is said that the Shorts family, who owner the property for many years, operated it for a short time prior to the Civil War (1859-1860); but there is no record in the tax books or elsewhere to substantiate this claim(s&t). (P)(V)(rp-1977-1991-2004, he-2003,km,rp,is,dd-2004).
Finding the furnace was a challenge before the new route 8 was built. Now it can be done in at least two ways.
(1) Park along Hwy 8 and crawl under the fence to the creek and up to the furnace, or
(2) walk up a difficult rocky creekside up from Sandy Creek. We have visited it both ways. (P)(V) (rp-1977-1991-2004, he-2003, km,is,dd,rp-2004).
(1). From Franklin proceed south on new route 8 to the bottom of the hill and the bridge across Sandy Creek. Proceed south up the hill 0.75 miles to just before the end of the guardrail at 41 18.896'N - 79 52.708'W.
The furnace can be reached by going under the deer fence near a large rock below the west side of the road and down the hillside. Proceed upstream until you see the furnace on a flat across the creek and against the hillside. Ford the creek to the furnace. This furnace was visited by Hank Edenborn in August 2003, and Karl Mouck in 2004 and they provided GPS coordinates.
(2). The furnace can also be reached by entering Victory Run at Sandy Creek and hiking up the run. This is a vigorous hike.
GPS coordinates 41 18.929'N - 79 52.788'W.(km,rp,dd.is-2004); 41 18.962'N - 79 52.75'W(he-2003)     to top
Webster - is on Bear Run, a branch of Pine Run in Rockland Township. It was built by Week(Wick?) and Dempsey in 1838. When the firm became bankrupt the stock was closed out by Hogue and Huston and the business was discontinued(s&t). This furnace is unique in construction. The bottom twelve rows of cut stone are in a square configuration, but above that the stack is octagonal. It is in good condition with a depression next to the furnace probably the wheel pit. The stack is heavily covered with brush and other vegetation.(P)(V)(rp-1977, is-2004).
At the village of Van on US322 just east of the bridge over East Sandy Creek turn south on Tarklin Hill Road (T582). Proceed 2.0 miles to its junction with Georgeville Hill Road (T381). Turn right and cross a small bridge. Continue 0.3 miles until the road makes a sharp turn to the left and a rough lease road goes straight ahead. Park here 41 17.478'N - 79 39.723'W. Walk the lease road for about miles. At this point the lease road makes a sharp right turn at the bottom of the hill. The furnace is to the right between the road and the hillside. GPS Coordinates 41 17.346'N - 79 40.529'W (is-2004).
Venango County Special Sources:
Exploring Venango County prepared for the Venango County Bicentennial Commision, 1976(evc).
Frazier, Bill, Scrubgrass Creek web site, , Anderson, Bullion, Jane Furnaces
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
Ian Straffin, Maedville, Pa., Anderson, Bullion, Slab, Reno, Castle Rock, Jackson, Porterfield, Rockland, Stapley, Texas, Union, Van Buren, Webster(is)
Dan & Chris Dundon, Erie, Pa., Anderson, Bullion, Slab, Reno, Liberty, (dd)
Hank Edenborn, Finleyville, Pa., Castle Rock, Liberty, Oil Creek, Raymilton, Valley, (he)
Karl Mouck, Sandy Lake, Pa., Franklin, Horse Creek, President, Victory(km)
Jeanmarie Wozniak - Stapley Furnace collapse (jw)


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