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


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
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
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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Copyright Richard Parks, Last updated March 12, 2010