Drive an hour northwest of Philadelphia and find Hopewell Furnace, an iron-producing village in operation from 1771 to 1883 and preserved to look as it did in its heyday circa 1835.
This "iron plantation," as it has been called, consists of a blast furnace, an ironmaster's mansion, a charcoal house, smoke house, blacksmith shop, schoolhouse and more.
Things to See & Do
- Take a self-guided tour of the community, its buildings and farmland.
- See the new baby lambs or attend a sheep shearing session if visiting in the spring.
- Participate in a living history demonstration such as charcoal production if visiting in the summer.
- Pick apples if visiting in September or October.
- Explore the park visitor center/museum which features audio-visual programs, exhibits, and a bookstore.
- View the 15 minute theater program that presents a history of the Hopewell Furnace community.
- Take a self-guided walking tour of the historic community. Enter the historic buildings where interpretive recordings and text will tell you the story of each.
- Experience living history programs and demonstrations presented during the summer season (late June through Labor Day) that show the work and lifestyles of Hopewell's inhabitants.
- Walk (by trails) or drive to historic Bethesda Church (1 mile) and visit this corner of Hopewell's history.
Hopewell Furnace National Historical Site Insider Tips
- Watch for the small, farm animals.
- Wear comfortable clothing to support the considerable walking involved.
- There are no restaurant facilities in the park or its immediate vicinity. The visitor center offers vending snacks, soft drinks and water.
- The park's 12 miles of hiking trails (that interconnect with those of neighboring French Creek State Park) are open everyday.
- Check the calendar for seasonal hours and events.
- The park is fully open from 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday as well as Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, and Columbus Day. Its visitor center (including rest rooms), parking lot and historic buildings are closed on Mondays, Tuesdays, and other federal holidays.