Eliza Furnace Historic Site

1069 Main St., Vintondale, PA 15961
40o 29' 6.339" N 78o 55' 26.033" W

Facilities | Directions

History

The Eliza Furnace is a National Register site regarded as one of Pennsylvania's best preserved iron furnaces. Dating from 1846 the Eliza Furnace is one of only a few iron furnaces remaining in the United States which still retains its original heat exchanger piping. The two-acre site is leased to Indiana County by the Cambria County Historical Society.

Eliza Furnace was constructed in 1845 and 1846. At its peak, the furnace employed over 90 people and utilzed 45 mules to produce about 1,080 tons of iron a year.

The furnace was not a financial success, and operated only three years. Difficulties in transporting iron by teams of horses to Ninevah on the Pennsylvania Canal, poor-quality local ore, and a significant drop in iron prices sealed the furnance's fate. Despite its early closing, Eliza Furnace helped bring the industrial revolution to the Black Lick Valley. A detailed history of the furnace is available here in PDF format. Additional information about Eliza Furnace and other iron furnaces in Pennsylvania can be found at the Industrial Archeology and PA Iron Furnace Sourcebook websites. Please also visit a compilation of web-based information about iron furnaces called: Western Pennsylvania Old Stone Iron Furnaces.

For an overview of the operation of an iron furnace and information about Indiana County's iron furnaces see: Iron Furnaces of Indiana County (PDF)

Facilities

Located near the site is Eliza Station, which features a restroom, picnic area, and water fountain. The furnace is also located at the midpoint of the Ghost Town Trail, a 33-mile rail-trail in the Black Lick Creek Valley.

Directions

Eliza Furnace is located ½ mile west of Vintondale along the Ghost Town Trail. A directional map with written directions is available.

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