From Production to Preservation

From Production to Preservation (HM1LPB)

Location: Alburtis, PA 18011 Lehigh County
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Country: United States of America
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N 40° 30.505', W 75° 35.69'

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Lock Ridge Iron Furnace

After the last castAfter Lock Ridge's last cast in 1921, the company shuttered the complex, and it sat abandoned for many years. Historic preservation was not yet a major concern, and few people thought of the complex as a place worthy of protection. The Butz Family, who had lived near the furnace, purchased the property and sold the trains and machinery. The tall furnace stacks were melted down and carried away, and even some of the stone work and bricks were sold. The family planned to clear the land to make room for a housing development or nursing home.
A Museum and a Park
That is when Jean Caroline Butz Stoneback, a member of the family, began advocating for the site's preservation. She convinced the Leigh County commissioners that the furnace complex and surrounding grounds had both historical significance and natural beauty. The result was that in 1976 Lock Ridge became a county park and work began on the development of a museum within the remaining, now-stabilized masonry structures. Many of the museum's artifacts came from Bethlehem Steel and people with personal collections of dippers, strainers, levels, handcar pushers, bake oven doors, casting room sandals and other items related to anthracite iron production.
Today, the Lehigh County Historical Society operates the museum and displays a number of exhibits in the weighmaster's house, while the Lehigh County Parks Department maintains the grounds as a popular park.
Federal Recognition
In 1981, Lock Ridge Furnace Complex was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
(Inscription next to the image in the upper right) "When I was a little girl, I played down here when it was abandoned. We played through the whole furnace." Jean Caroline Butz Stoneback, advocate for Lock Ridge's preservation and longtime tour guide.
(Inscription next to the image in the lower right) Following the last cast, Lock Ridge was abandoned and scrapped. Only the foresight of a concerned citizen saved the site from total destruction. (Collection of the Lehigh County Historical Society)
Placed ByWilliam B. Butz Memorial Fund
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Saturday, July 11th, 2015 at 6:02pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18T E 449603 N 4484358
Decimal Degrees40.50841667, -75.59483333
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 40° 30.505', W 75° 35.69'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds40° 30' 30.3" N, 75° 35' 41.4" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)610, 484
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 588 Thomas St, Alburtis PA 18011, US
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