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Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site - OutdoorPlaces.Com

 Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site, Pennsylvania

Founded in 1771 by ironmaster Mark Bird, Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site offers a glimpse into 19th century America.  Operating through 1883, Hopewell Furnace and the surrounding iron plantation made a variety of iron goods for the United States and for export (iron was one of the colonies biggest exports prior to the American Revolution of 1776).  Today a total of 14 restored buildings including the ironmasters mansion, furnaces, the store, tenant houses, barn, and charcoal house can be toured on a series of short interpretative trails.

 Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site, Pennsylvania, Summary

Address:  2 Mark Bird Lane, Elverson, PA  19520
Phone:  (610) 582-8773
E-Mail:  HOFU_superintendent@nps.gov
848 acres
Season:  Year round, reduced hours during the winter months
Camping:  None, but camping and cabins are available at adjacent French Creek State Park
Hiking:  Short trails tour the various buildings in the park, several trails connect to 7,474-acre French Creek State Park offering over 39 miles of hiking
Access Fee:  Yes, $4 per adult, special interpretive programs $1, Golden Age, Golden Access, Parks Pass, Golden Eagle get free admission.  A special, "Hopewell Pass" for one year access is available at the park.
Special Activities:  Fourteen 19th century buildings offers a look into post-Revolutionary War life in the early United States and iron making prior to the industrial revolution

 Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site, What To Do

Don't be deceived into thinking that Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site only offers an interpretive view of fourteen historic buildings.  Although that is part of the attraction, and audio programs are available to explain the history of the area, there is a lot more to see and do!  Master House, Hopewell Furance National Historic Site, Public Domain Photograph Provided By The US National Park ServiceA variety of living history programs including molding and casting demonstrations are available from June until Labor Day.  If you are part of a school group you can even arrange special hands-on programs during your visit.

Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site comes alive with a variety of programs including sheep shearing in May.  Establishment Day during the first weekend of August provides visitors with a variety of demonstrations on charcoal burning and making of crafts.  Apple Harvest Day during the last weekend of September has a variety of living history programs that is the highlight of Apple Sales, which runs from September to October.  In October the park offers a program called, Women's Work.  Finally during December, the National Park Services puts on an Iron Plantation Christmas, and the occasional early snow in Pennsylvania makes it a sight to see.  You can visit the parks calendar of events for detailed information or call the park directly.

Quiet Forest Glade, Trail Leading to Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site, Copyright 1999 OutdoorPlaces.Com, All Rights ReservedAs you visit Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site it become hard to believe that little more than 100 years ago the surrounding hills were cut bare, and the air would have been filled with the noise and the soot of the iron furnaces.  The old growth forest of American Chestnut is gone, but due to outstanding management of the land in the northeastern states, the forests have had a lot of time to heal.  In nearby French Creek State Park the eastern sections of the park are returning to mature old growth forest.  Take some of the trails into French Creek State Park and you may even get a chance to see some white-tail deer or curious raccoons moving through the surrounding forest.

Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site and French Creek State Park when combined make create an outdoor offering that rivals much larger national parks.  Located only 15 miles off the Pennsylvania Turnpike, even if you have only a few hours, it is a wonderful place to stop and look back at who we were.