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Charcoal Hearths, Collier Huts and Haul Roads: Traces of the Iron Industry on South Mountain
Tuesday, April 16
This slide presentation will explore the history of the local 18th-19th century iron industry, focused on Pine Grove Furnace. Signs of the industry are still visible today all across the South Mountain slopes of Cumberland, Franklin and Adams Counties, ranging from a few still-standing furnaces and historic buildings to multiple large iron ore quarries. The most widespread remnant, however, is often overlooked: charcoal hearths and other traces of turning trees into charcoal fuel for ironmaking. Local historian Andre Weltman will explain the process of making charcoal and its lasting impact on the Michaux State Forest landscape.
Andre Weltman is chairman of the Friends of Pine Grove Furnace State Park. As a volunteer for the State Park, he conducts frequent public tours and presentations on the iron industry and associated topics such as charcoal making, the Ironmaster's Mansion, and Jackson Fuller's amusement park. Originally from New York City, Andre worked for the Pennsylvania state government for 25 years and retired in 2020. He and his wife have lived next to the Michaux State Forest just outside Pine Grove Furnace since 1997.