HUNTINGDON, Pa. (WHTM) – Greenwood Furnace State Park in Huntingdon County is a mix of beauty and history.
“It was an iron furnace community,” park manager Mike Dinsmore said. “The peak operation was 1860’s to the 1880’s.”
There are still traces of the community today. Park guests can visit the iron master’s quarters and the town church built in the 1860’s is still used for weddings.
Not far from the park’s visitor center, you will find the old furnaces. Stack No. 2 was reconstructed so you can walk inside and touch history. More than 100 years ago, the two furnaces would burn 24/7, lighting up the night sky and covering the town in soot and ash.
“It would have felt like you were in the downtown of an industrial center,” Dinsmore said. “At the peak of the operation, the furnaces produced between tons of pig iron that would then be sent to be converted into rod iron at Freedom Forge. It would have been made into railroads, cannons and guns that would have been involved in the Civil War, so it’s a big part of the establishment of industry and the evolution of industry in the country.”
Visitors can walk through the park’s blacksmith and wagon shop, which features some of the tools and equipment that was used during the furnace operation.
The park is also known for its mountain biking and hiking trails. Standing Stone Trail, an 80-mile backpacking trail which passes through the park, was named Trail of the Year in Pennsylvania in 2016.
Greenwood Furnace also features a lake, which has a beach house and a concession stand.
Adventure PA Checklist:
Location: Greenwood Furnace is 20 miles south of State College off Route 305. It’s about and hour-and-half drive from Harrisburg. There is no cell service, so write down the directions in case your GPS stops.
Accommodations: They have a campground that features both rustic camping and electric sites. No full hook-ups. Modern bathhouses.
Cost: All day-use areas and parking are free. Camping rates reasonable.
Best time to visit: Year-round. In the winter, they have ice skating and cross-country skiing.
For more information: http://www.dcnr.state.pa.us/stateparks/findapark/greenwoodfurnace/index.htm