Pioneer Pavilion, one of the oldest structures in Youngstown, is a rare surviving example of early nineteenth-century industry. James Heaton constructed this sandstone building in 1821 as a mill for carding and fulling wool. A millrace from Mill Creek and a waterwheel on the west side supplied the power. In the 1830s and 1840s, the woolen mill was converted to a storage facility for the nearby Mill Creek Furnace and later served as a cattle barn. In 1891, Youngstown attorney Volney Rogers purchased the property for Mill Creek Park, renovating the building in 1893 as a dining and dancing facility, and naming it Pioneer Pavilion. Generations of area residents spanning three centuries have celebrated social events in this historic landmark.
Mill Creek Furnace
Constructed in the late 1820s or early 1830s, the Mill Creek Furnace was the first blast furnace in Youngstown and the third in the Mahoning Valley built by members of the Heaton family, who were pioneer iron producers. They had built the Hopewell Furnace in Poland Township in 1803 and the Maria Furnace in Niles in 1813. Originally fueled by charcoal, the furnace, with its thirty-foot stack, produced approximately three to four tons of iron each day. In the 1840s, the Mill Creek Furnace was rebuilt to burn bituminous coal. The remains of several small coalmines may still be seen in the park. The Mill Creek Furnace, the last charcoal furnace constructed in the Mahoning Valley, went out of blast in the late 1840s or early 1850s.