A Pleasant Detour To Hopewell Furnace

Achievement: #69. Get 2 National Parks Passport Stamps

Continuing on our quest to catch up on all the posts we’ve missed in the past two months, we bring you next back to an unplanned stop on our trip to Atlantic City in March: a visit to a National Historic Site!

It’s no secret that we love to travel, and certainly no secret that we’re big fans of making – and checking things off of – lists. The Passport to Your National Parks program seems almost like it was made for us. It’s a little, travel-friendly book that lists every National Park, Historic Site, Battlefield, and Monument in the country. Like a regular passport, there are spots for cancellation stamps, which you can get at the visitor centers for each of the sites. Our goal this year is to add two new stamps to the book, and the first opportunity came on a beautifully sunny, yet snowy, day in March.

Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site
Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site is located a little ways off the highway, just about 50 miles before you hit Philly driving east on the Turnpike. We were en route to Atlantic City when I saw the signs for Hopewell Furnace, and since we had some free time (and my Passport book, which I always travel with), we took a short detour.

Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site
Hopewell Furnace was an ‘iron plantation’ that operated from the late 1700s until the late 1800s. Even early in its existence, it was the second-largest producer of iron in the state. Hopewell Furnace was an important producer of supplies during the American Revolution.

Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site
Lots of the iron that they poured was for very intricate designs like this one.

Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site
I got to practice pretending to make the iron molding. Hard work, even faking it!

Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site
One of Hopewell’s major industries was stove-making. Mark Bird, ironmaster and founder of Hopewell Furnace, designed stoves that were both fashionable and functional, making home heating much safer than with traditional fireplaces.

Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site
Hopewell Furnace was a stop on the Underground Railroad.

Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site
After touring the visitors’ center, you can walk down to the remaining buildings from the village and tour some of them. This is the Great House, where Mark Bird and his family lived.

Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site
I love any excuse to neb inside people’s houses, whether or not they’ve been lived in at all in the past hundred years.

Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site
There is still a large number of livestock at Hopewell Furnace. This was very exciting for me. I love meeting sheep!

Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site
And this super friendly horse!

Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site
And these vultures!

Okay. Maybe not the vultures. Those were actually kind of REALLY creepy.

Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site
The vultures were hanging out in this building, the furnace room.

Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site
I imagine this room would have been a LOT hotter back in the iron-making days.

Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site
The water wheel was gigantic – 22 feet in diameter! The water wheel was the power source that allowed the furnace to be heated to over 2800 degrees Fahrenheit. (Seriously, I am done complaining about Pittsburgh’s humidity in August.)

Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site
Also in the furnace room was this random shelf of weights. And a cart. And a really fabulous opportunity for me to reenact music montages from Rocky IV.

Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site
Although a few of the buildings in the village are closed during the winter months, the scenery was just so beautiful with the snow all around.

Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site
Although we’d never really heard of Hopewell Furnace before passing the signs on the Turnpike, we really had a great time exploring the site. The staff was so friendly and informative, and it was so interesting to be able to step back into time with this perfectly-preserved industrial village. If you find yourself traveling in the area, be sure to check it out! You can see the sights easily in less than 2 hours and get your Passport stamped!

1 Comment

Filed under #69, #69-14, history, national park, travel

One Response to A Pleasant Detour To Hopewell Furnace

  1. Woubbie

    I’d heard the name, but never knew anything about it. It looks really awesome!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *