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in West Central Pennsylvania
had eight furnaces. Three, in Johnstown, have no remains visible. Four of the other five have very poor remains, just enough to identify the location, view a partial retaining wall or a depression in the ground to identify a millrace or where the furnace stood. One, however, is a notable exception. Eliza Furnace is in an excellent state of repair and is probably the only furnace in Western Pennsylvania to eexhibit intact the heat exchanger pipes which allowed preheated air to create the blast in this hot blast furnace. It is in a park like setting and right beside the Ghost Town Rail Trail, which is soon to be extended westward to pass near the site of Buena Vista Furnace in Indiana County.

  Eliza Furnace
Eliza Furnace

Cambria - at the Johnstown Baseball Park site. Four furnaces were built here, 1854, 1854, 1856 and 1857(not finished). The four furnaces were built on the Johnstown flats 1/4 mile north of the railroad station, and north of the Cambria Rolling Mills(s&t), as part of the Cambria Iron Company properties(whe). In 1960's the site was occupied by the Johnstown baseball park. Coordinates (approximate) 40 19.92'N - 78 55.83'W.
Conemaugh (aka Hodges) - According to information and maps provided to s&t by M. P. Moore of Levittown, Pennsylvania this furnace was built in East Conemaugh, Cambria County in 1857 by G. W. Hodges of New York. He sold it in 1869 to the Cambria Iron Company which rebuilt it in 1873 and operated it until about 1889. The Johnstown flood of that year probably played an important part in its discontinuance. It was a coke furnace powered by steam and used local and Blair County ore. It was at the location of the Bethlehem Mine Corp. on Chestnut Street in East Conemaugh, East Taylor Township. Nothing remains.
Go from Johnstown northeast on PA271 to Franklin. Cross the Bridge to East Conemaugh, turn left on Chestnut Street and go to its end. Straight ahead you may see the gate of the fenced property of the Bethlehem Mine Corporation (1960's). Old maps (s&t) suggest the site was to the right of the gate and back a few yards. Nothing remains. Approximate Coordinates 40 20.5'N - 78 53.6'W. to top
Mt. Vernon (aka Johnstown) - Built in 1846 by Peter Livingood and Company. It was later owned by Linton and Galbraith(s&t). In 1855 it belonged to Messrs. Rhey Mathews & Co. and had been operated for 3 or 4 years with much energy and success(gpr). It was at the current site of the First Christian Church on Vine Street in Johnstown(s&t). Nothing remains.
Approximate coordinates 40 19.5'N - 78 55'W.to top
Cambria County Special Sources:
Indiana (County) Department of Travel & Tourism(idt)
William H. Egle (whe) - An Illustrated History of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (Harrisburg: DeWitt C. Goodrich & Co.1976) p. 461-478
Mountain Laurel Trout Unlimited(mlt) - www.mltu.org/Fisheries/bens_creek.htm
Guide for the Pennsylvania Railroad(gpr), Philadelphia - T.K. & P.G. Collins, printers - 1855
Westsylvania Stories - Early Iron Works Blair & Cambria Counties (wes) Pat & Michael Hom, San Diego, Ca., Mill Creek, Old Cambria (ph)
Ian Straffin, Meadville, Paq., Ben;s Creek, (is)
Karl Nouck, Sandy Lake, Pa., Ben's Creek, (km)

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Copyright Richard Parks, December 29, 2009