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Tuesday, 03 March 2020 / Published in News

The Hay Creek Valley Historical Association Offers History Classes at Historic Joanna Furnace

Fascinated by 19th-century history? Interested in early technology, crafts, cooking, or how about the art of ironmaking? Enjoy working with visitors, children and school groups? The Hay Creek Valley Historical Association and the Joanna Furnace Ironworks are now recruiting friendly persons who are interested in volunteering to be historical site tour guides or who just want to learn a little about the history of our community.

As a volunteer Tour Guide, you will learn how to lead small groups of visitors through the 229-year-old iron furnace complex. Your job will be to communicate the breadth of life in a 19th-century iron making community and introduce your group to the general history of our area. You will be taking the visitors back to a different place and time.

Each year over 30,000 people visit Joanna Furnace. The education programs reach over 2,000 students from Berks, Chester and Lancaster Counties. Since 1980, over 1.1 million guests have visited Joanna Furnace.

The Hay Creek Valley Historical Association invites interested persons to participate in one or all of our Joanna Furnace History Training Classes starting in March.   These classes will give basic, introductory level, information on assisting with tours at our upcoming fall festivals, public events and spring educational programs. 

The classes offered in 2020 are as follows:

History of Joanna Furnace — Tuesday, March 10th – 7 pm to 8:30 pm

Designed for volunteers to interact with the general public during events and welcome them to the Joanna Furnace Site.   The class includes watching and discussing the History of Joanna Furnace video and reviewing of a training guide that will assist you at events.  The goal is to have a general understanding of the significance of the Joanna Furnace site and to be able to communicate with guests from that perspective.

My Childhood Memories of Growing up in the Joanna Furnace Ironmaking Community –Tuesday, March 17th – 7 pm to 8:30 pm

Juliana Flora, the great-great-granddaughter of the last Joanna Furnace Ironmaster, will share letters written in the 1880’s by her great grandmother Daisy Smith Morris. Daisy recounts her life experiences and happenings as she was growing up at the Joanna Furnace Ironmaking Community.

Learn to be a Joanna Furnace Tour Guide — Tuesday, March 24th – 7 pm to 8:30 pm

Designed for volunteers to interact with the general public during events and welcome them to the Joanna Furnace Site.   The class focuses on hands-on training inside the historic Joanna Furnace Buildings.  Various Joanna Furnace Interpreters will discuss their personal perspectives on how they approach interpretation in a building.  Volunteer garb will also be reviewed at the class.  The goal is to have a general understanding of the significance of the Joanna Furnace site and to be able to communicate with guests from that perspective.

 STAGING HISTORY: American Theater in the Time of Joanna Furnace –TUESDAY, APRIL 7TH – 7 pm to 8:30 pm

Presenter Aileen Lynch McCulloch of Morgantown has spent her life using theater to educate and explore history, since her 12th grade play A Time to Live (about time traveler) won an award for Outstanding Original One Act. In this one-and-a-half-hour presentation, McCulloch explores theater history in the time of Joanna Furnace, and the impact American theater has had on historical preservation.  A brief history of American Theater combines with a fun interactive finale using Joanna Furnace history to present a short original theater performance. With over 30 years of educational theater under her belt, McCulloch has brought interactive education reenactors to Winterthur Museum, The University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology and even the Philadelphia Art Museum, combining her love of theater and history to create memorable educational experiences in our region for over two decades. Her historical theater even garnered two Barrymore Award Nominations (and one win!) for unique theater collaborations!

19th Century Photography – Daguerreotypes to Cabinet Cards — TUESDAY, APRIL 14TH – 7 pm to 8:30 pm

Hay Creek members and Civil War relic collectors Janice and Tom Groves will offer this exciting program by sharing authentic photographs from the Civil War.  The presentation will focus on their extensive collection of Daguerreotypes and Cabinet Cards.  In addition, Janice will discuss the ladies’ clothing’s styles of the 1850’s & 1860’s as seen in the photographs.   The Grove’s passions for history will shine through as they speak and show a sample of their 3,000 antique photos. 

HISTORY ALIVE: Historic Reenactment and You          — TUESDAY, APRIL 28 – 7 PM TO 8:30 PM

Aileen Lynch McCulloch of Morgantown, shares the art of reenacting and how anyone can become an historical actor. In anticipation of new interactive theater activities coming to Hay Creek, this one-and-a-half-hour presentation will include a discussion about how members can become involved in reenactment right here at the Furnace. With over 30 years of educational theater under her belt, McCulloch has brought interactive education reenactors to Winterthur Museum, University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology and even the Philadelphia Art Museum, combining her love of theater and history to create memorable educational experiences in our region for over two decades. Her historical theater even garnered two Barrymore Award Nominations (and one win!) for unique theater collaborations.

Bake Oven Demonstrating —hands-on — Saturday, May 2nd  – 9 am to 1 pm

Masonry ovens have been built in American homes since the first colonists landed in New England.  These brick ovens were used to bake bread, pies and cookies.  Although very few of these ovens exist today, the historic Joanna Furnace site houses two reproduction ovens that are used for interpretation at events and program.  During this class participants will learn how to “fire-up” and “maintain” a stove for baking; plus, will mix their own bread and pie to be baked in the oven. 

19th Century Metal Casting—hands-on class — Saturday, MaY 2ND  – 10 am to noon

We will provide the basic information required to make a sand mold – using a pattern. The mold cavity made by the pattern will then be filled with molten aluminum. If we’ve done a good job of training you, you will have a casting to take home with you!

You may be aware of some of the Furnace history presented at the Hay Creek Festivals, and if you plan to be a demonstrator at Joanna, any information you hear during these training sessions will be useful. Of course, the emphasis here will be on the Furnace, Casting House, and metal casting products and procedures. Also: Iron ore, limestone and charcoal; Furnace, Blowing engine power; Pig iron, molds/ingots, and products; Making a mold; patterns, flask, rammer, riddle; Finishing a casting; cut off gates, file, smooth. 

School of Soldier — Saturday, may 2ND  – All Day

The PA 50th & 69th Civil War regiments will meet at Joanna Furnace for their annual training day where participants go over all safety aspects of the hobby including proper handling of the rifle, as well as proper rifle firing techniques. We also drill the troops, so they are ready to maneuver properly while fighting in the field.  All personal equipment is checked to make sure that each member is ready to take the field safely.   Guests are welcome to come out to Joanna Furnace on this day to ask questions and to sign up to be a part of this living history group.  THERE IS NO CHARGE FOR ATTENDING THIS ACTIVITY.


Class size is limited therefore RESERVATIONS ARE REQUIRED to attend each of these programs (excluding the School of Soldier activity).  For more information or to register please email Mark Zerr at mzerr@haycreek.org or call 610-286-0388.  Reservations must be made by March 9th   Note:  A nominal fee will be charged to each participant to cover class materials.

Click here to download Spring Education Classes at Joanna Furnace

The Hay Creek Valley Historical Association is a 501(c)(3) non-profit charitable organization dedicated to the preservation and education of America’s iron heritage. Net proceeds from this event support the restoration and educational projects of The Hay Creek Valley Historical Association and Joanna Furnace, a historically significant 18th and 19th-century charcoal-fueled iron furnace.   The Joanna Furnace site is located three miles north of Morgantown, along Route 10.  For entrance turn at Furnace Road.

Tuesday, 03 March 2020 / Published in News

The Hay Creek Valley Historical Association volunteers are gearing up for their annual spring Chicken Pot Pie and Chili sale at historic Joanna Furnace.    The sale will be taking place on Thursday, March 26, 2020 from 10 am to 5 pm.   Cost is $8.00 per quart.  Note:  All orders must be received by Saturday, March 21st.

Orders can be made by printing and mailing the attached form or by calling 610-286-0388.  To order by credit card click the yellow donate button at www.haycreek.org and note your order in the comment section.

The Hay Creek Valley Historical Association is a non-profit 501(c)(3) charitable organization.  Funds generated from its programs support the restoration and preservation of the historic Joanna Furnace site.

Click here to download Chicken Pot Pie and Chili Sale Form

Monday, 17 February 2020 / Published in News

Dance a Jig and celebrate Irish Heritage at the Joanna Furnace Breakfast Buffet on Saturday, March 21st!

“Receive the luck of the Irish, enjoy a traditional Irish breakfast and festive music…It’ll bring out the Irish in you”

MORGANTOWN, PA . . . The Hay Creek Valley Historical Association is celebrating their Irish Heritage and the birth of the Iron master’s first child Clement Smith at the 13th annual Irish Breakfast Buffet. The breakfast takes place at the historic Joanna Furnace Iron Works on Saturday, March 21st from 7 am to 12 noon.

Not only were the Smith Ironmaking family descendants of Irish immigrants to the New World, but also were many of the furnace workers who emigrated from Ireland during the potato famine. Visitors are invited to come out to celebrate our heritage at the breakfast and to welcome the Ironmaster’s new child “Clemmy” by wearing the traditional Irish colors of green, white and orange.

This celebration of Irish legacy will feature standard Irish favorites of Pancakes, French toast, country sausage, homemade corned beef hash, bacon, scrapple, creamed chipped beef, scrambled eggs, country style potatoes, baked oatmeal, fruit, coffee, juice and more. The cost for the buffet: Adults $10 Children (5-11) $5, children under 5 FREE. Reservations are not required to attend.

Juliana Flora, the president of the Hay Creek Valley Historical Association says, “This is a special year celebrating Clement’s birth (March 1870). The Smith’s first child, new beginnings and a celebration of the heritage that can be traced back to Ireland/Scotland in the 1500’s. The Smith’s original name was MacDonald, but was changed when arriving in the new world to reflect their blackSMITHing heritage.”

March also kicks off the beginning of the year for the organization when the general public can come out to Joanna Furnace to hear about the history of our community. At this time the Hay Creek Valley Historical Association offers educational training classes where individuals can learn to be a tour guide or take a history class to learn about our communities’ past. This year’s classes focus on learning about civil war photography, Victorian dancing, bake oven demonstrating, metal casting and the history of theater. Mark Zerr, Executive Director, states “As our organization continues to preserve the 26-acre historic site, we are always looking for new volunteers to join our team to assist at events and education programs. Whether new volunteers come on board to learn to be tour guides, help at our Thursday volunteer day, or just learn about our heritage we are an all-encompassing organization that welcomes the talents and knowledge from our community.”

The Hay Creek Valley Historical Association is a 501(c)(3) non-profit charitable organization dedicated to the preservation and education of America’s Iron Heritage. Net Proceeds from this event support the restoration and educational projects of the Hay Creek Valley Historical Association and Joanna Furnace. Anyone wishing to find more information about the 2020 events or educational programs at Joanna Furnace can visit the Hay Creek Valley Historical Association website at www.haycreek.org or call 610-286-0388. The Joanna Furnace site is located three miles north of Morgantown along route 10, for entrance turn at Furnace Road.

Tuesday, 21 January 2020 / Published in News

This Valentine’s Day, Fall in Love with Historic Joanna Furnace

Come celebrate the 13th Annual Joanna Furnace Valentine’s Day Breakfast Buffet on Saturday, February 15, 2020! Give your sweetheart and loved ones the gift of live musical performances while indulging in a delectable all-you-can-eat buffet offering traditional country breakfast complemented by romantic delights such as our delicious Joanna Furnace chocolate covered strawberries and whipped hot chocolate.

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Join us at Historic Joanna Furnace Iron Works from 7 am – 12 pm and share fine food while listening to the romantic and festive acoustical stylings of Denver-based Phyllis Hummel, who has been performing for over 20 years throughout the Tri-County region, as we kick off the exciting 2020 exhibit and event calendar. This year’s calendar includes numerous opportunities to travel back in time and experience a taste of life in an 18th and 19th century iron-making community with three major annual festivals: Hay Creek Festival, Hay Creek Apple Festival, Christmas at Joanna. Our growing public school program, and numerous restoration projects provide more chances to explore and learn about this important historical site.

Menu to include: fresh country sausage, baked carved ham, scrapple, bacon, creamed chipped beef, scrambled eggs, pancakes, pancakes with chocolate chips French toast, hash browns, fruit sauce, and beverages.

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“One hundred fifty years ago Joanna Furnace Ironmaster L. Heber Smith and wife Ella Jane were so very much in love.  In fact, in March of 1870 the newlywed couple were expecting the birth of their first child”, states Juliana Flora, Hay Creek Valley Historical Association President and Smith Family descendent.    “The excitement at that time still continues today through the passion of Hay Creek volunteers with their love to preserve the history of our community.  Volunteers work at keeping the Joanna Furnace property beautiful and maintained, lead school group tours, and educate the public about our local history at our Fall events.”

Reservations for the Valentine’s Breakfast Buffet are not required.   Admission for individual adults is $10.00, Children are encouraged; ages 5 – 11 are $5.00 and those under 5 eat free.

The Hay Creek Valley Historical Association is a 501(c)(3) non-profit charitable organization. Net proceeds from this event support the educational programs and restoration of Joanna Furnace. This historically significant 18th and 19th-century charcoal-fueled iron furnace community is nestled in a valley just off Route 10 on Furnace Road—3 miles north of Morgantown, PA

For more information, visit the Hay Creek Valley Historical Association website at www.haycreek.org or call 610-286-0388.

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