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The Age of Iron: The Beginning of America's Industrial Revolution

In 1771, an ironmaster named Mark Bird founded Hopewell Furnace in the wild depths of Pennsylvania's forested frontier. In a few short years, the fires of Hopewell would be rampantly producing the metal required to arm the Continental Army and Navy with cannon, shot, and shell, allowing the rebel states to topple the most powerful and widespread empire the world had yet seen. With a history that spans two centuries, this site is representative not only of American craftsmanship, community, and heritage but also of the very beginning of America's explosive industrial revolution. By the end of the American Revolution, the now-independent United States of America produced 15% of the world's iron. Finally, the world's youngest nation had an unexpected, and underestimated, spot among its greatest countries. 
 
As an iron plantation, Hopewell Furnace's iconic economic system was a nearly self-sufficient community solely, and irregularly, dependent upon the production of a single product: iron. Eventually, though, the discovery of anthracite would replace charcoal and the technologies of the past at Hopewell Furnace would be overshadowed by the advances and unthinkable possibilities of the future. Surrounded by a massive forest, the 848 acres of the Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site provide dozens of activities such as historical tours, hiking, biking, and hunting. An interesting attraction is the public apple orchard that is maintained as a 19th century-style orchard in an effort to preserve the historic nature of the orchard and its usefulness to the furnace. The site is open Wednesday through Sunday 9AM-5PM and on the holidays of Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, and Columbus Day, and makes a perfect attraction for celebrating historical American holidays. For  more information call 610-582-8773 or visit the website
 
Celebrate the National Park Service Centennial.

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