The Homewood Iron Furnace

The Homewood Iron Furnace (HM1IJO)

Location: Beaver Falls, PA 15010 Beaver County
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Country: United States of America
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N 40° 48.82', W 80° 19.777'

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During the term of Thomas Jefferson, the Embargo Act of 1807 was passed ending the importation of iron from England and Europe. Iron furnaces sprang up immediately in western Pennsylvania to supply the needs of the pioneers and cash-in on the high prices one could charge for this metal product. More than 200 furnaces have been recorded in the state, with three of them located in this region. They were the Brighton (now Beaver Falls), Homewood and the Bassenheim Furnace in Butler County near Zelienople, owned by Count Detmar Basse, the founder of that town. The Homewood Furnace was constructed on the Beaver River in 1857 in what is now Wayne Township, just south of the Connoquennessing Creek near "Rock Point." It had a capacity of five tons and produced "pig iron" and miscellaneous castings such as fireplace back-plates and flat irons. To supply the furnace, iron ore was handpicked from the surrounding grounds and charcoal was made from the trees that grew abundantly along the river. The furnace operated until it was put "out of blast" after ten years of service in 1867/1868. When James Wood put the furnace into blast, he erected a sign with the words, "Homewood Station", which later identified the nearby railroad station. The Homewood Furnace was built by James Wood, who was born in New York City on December 17, 1789, son of a Quaker family. He came to Pittsburgh after being a riverboat captain until 1835, and at the age of forty-six he settled in Pittsburgh and became a factor in building that city. James first established a cotton mill at Third and Ferry Streets, which was destroyed by the memorable fire of 1845. After the fire, his first industrial triumph was the founding of the Woods, Edwards and McKnight iron mill. The mill was among the first to give the city its distictive character. Later he went to Youngstown, Ohio and built a blast furnace-the first one west of the mountains to use coal as fuel. James also built the rolling mills at the mouth of Saw Mill Run, and in 1860, he built an additional four furnaces near Wheatland. James Wood continued to develop the iron industry in the area by purchasing 200 acres of land in Wayne Township at the mouth of the Connoquennessing Creek. This land was to be used for additional iron facilities near the Homewood Furnace, along the south side of the creek, and along the Beaver eastern shore. He married Hannah Baldwin soon after settling in Pittsburgh. Wood died on November 2, 1867.
Placed ByRivers of Steel National Heritage Area Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Conservation & Natural Resources (PA DCNR), The Homewood Heritage Foundation
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Sunday, December 28th, 2014 at 1:02pm PST -08:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)17T E 556538 N 4518288
Decimal Degrees40.81366667, -80.32961667
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 40° 48.82', W 80° 19.777'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds40° 48' 49.2" N, 80° 19' 46.62" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)724, 412
Which side of the road?Marker is on the right when traveling South
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 103 Roberts St, Beaver Falls PA 15010, US
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