Riding the Rails in Rockhill Furnace, Pennsylvania


Tucked towards the pocket of some hundred-year-old railroad engineer coveralls, you’re instantly came back with an era of vintage rail transportation here. Like triumphantly elevated arms, two silver smokestacks proclaim their victory after a while, which otherwise appears suspended using the sprawling, wooden, red-colored shop complex surrounding it, modified by not only a single nail because it first rose on your lawn. A cobweb of tracks, imbedded within the artery which divides the dual boroughs of Rockhill Furnace and Orbisonia, merges into three as you are watching depot, which bears the latter’s name, departure point for 1 of three daily, narrow-gauge, steam locomotive-pulled trains operating because the East Broad Top Railroad. The clang in the bell, rung nearby, signifies the feel of a thrilling red trolley vehicle inside the alternative way.

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Vacationers ride the rails today coal miners rode them yesterday.

Cradled by Blacklog Mountain and both Saddleback and Sandy Ridges, the place, then undeveloped, beckoned prospectors getting its natural sources, comprised of farming land, water, timber, coal, and iron, the Blacklog Creek both feeding and leading individuals to exactly what do become its twin boroughs.

Initially as being a local American campground and hunting ground, as evidenced by archeological traces offered by Sandy Ridge, the place first needed root in 1754 when land was bought in Six Nations, along with the first road, mimicking the very first Indian path and fostering westward growth and development of settlers, was produced 33 yeas later, stretching between Burnt Cabins within the south and Huntingdon within the north.

Bedford Furnace, the area’s first village, started out a exchanging publish in 1760. Offering both a feeling of location and permanence, it attracted the first white-colored-colored-colored settler, George Erwin, who established a exchanging publish within the log home, shipping goods over narrow, backwoods-tunneling trails and exchanging all of them travelers and Indians alike.

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Placing the initial pin towards the map, the Bedford Furnace Company established a charcoal furnace to obtain capable of producing iron in 1785, sparking increase in the Juniata Valley and having the first of countless to eventually characterize it.

Rockhill Furnace Number 1, built-in 1831 by Thomas Diven and William Morrison south within the town in Blacklog Narrows, replaced the smaller sized sized sized, original plant, while Winchester Furnace, the following such ironworks, rose a couple of hundred yards away.

Abandoned in 1850 transporting out a less-than-prosperous reign, it had been increased to end up part of seven years later by furnace Number 1 when area deforestation depleted the timber needed for iron smelting charcoal, even though the Civil War once more-although temporarily-re-lit its fires.

A home loan property property property foreclosure preceded its purchase in 1867, nevertheless its resurrection now hinged upon an origin of energy take. The best pot of gold inside the finish within the rainbow-or, during this situation, on the top within the rainbow-came by means of coal discovered on Broad Top Mountain. The factor which was now needed was a method to transport it within the summit-located mines for that iron furnaces within the east.

Sharon Hamilton

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