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 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 or call 610-286-0388.

Wednesday, 13 November 2019 / Published in News

Morgantown, PA . . .

The evenings of December 6—8, visitors to Joanna Furnace will be whisked away from the anticipation of their own Christmas season—back to the joyous celebration of the Christmas of 1869. Whether families come for unique holiday shopping, wonderful light holiday treats, to experience the candlelit 200-year-old furnace complex, to hear Christmas music, or even have the kids encounter the Belsnickel  . . . everyone is enthralled by the transformation of Joanna Furnace into a 19th-century-holiday experience.

Christmas 1869 was a grand time for the ironmaster’s family and the residents of the Joanna Furnace community.  They celebrated the Holiday and gave thanks that the furnace was busy providing income to so many families. Additionally, this year, the ironmaster and his wife are celebrating their second Christmas together. Visitors of all ages will be able to experience that long-ago time and gain a new perspective on their holiday celebration.

Candlelight illuminates the entire furnace complex.
The historic site takes on an entirely new radiance — over one thousand glowing luminaries warmly light various furnace walkways. Visitors are encouraged to explore the furnace complex by following the clearly defined pathways. All aspects of this nighttime event set the stage for an unforgettable family experience. Visitors are urged to bring cameras.

Also, carefully placed lighting illuminates the historic buildings’ exteriors to give visitors a new perspective of the furnace complex. Inside, each building is illuminated by lamps or candles to recreate an 1890s atmosphere.

The Joanna furnace Mule Stable is transformed into the parlor of the Victorian mansion of Iron Master L. Heber Smith, his wife Ella Jane Grubb Smith and their family. As visitors enter the warm glowing parlor, the pleasant aroma of the freshly cut cedar Christmas Tree is a welcoming sensation.

In the parlor, Smith family members gather to prepare for a beautiful family Christmas celebration complete with Victorian dancing. Visitors can watch the festive holiday celebration or interact with family members to learn more about life in the iron furnace community and take part in the period dancing.

Outside, in front of the stage, the largest of the roaring bonfires becomes the focal point of the furnace community. Here all can warm up by the fire and enjoy Bonfire Performances on stage. Friday at 6:00 pm—enjoy a Twin Valley Bible Academy program, Saturday at 6:00 pm—High Point Baptist Church performs and at 7:30 pm —the Lukens Steel Brass Band will perform. On Sunday at 6:00 pm and again at 7:30 pm—Morgantown Community Church Men’s Choir will perform Christmas music.

Near the holiday bonfire, from time to time, the Belsnickel has been known to appear and delight visiting children.

Traditional wagon rides give visitors an alternative way to explore Joanna Furnace. Rides are $2 per person and occur weather permitting. The historic buildings will be open for visitors to explore on self-guided walking tours of the complex. Visitors can visit the Blacksmith Shop, Casting House and Office/Store.

Savor festival foods
The Hay Creek Historians are proud to provide guests with a variety of delicious holiday foods. Enjoy such homemade foods as sausage sandwiches; hot dogs; pork and sauerkraut & mashed potatoes; chicken strips, soups, chili; and French fries. Warm-up with a steaming cup of hot chocolate, hot mulled cider or coffee.

Visitors can enter the Christmas Gift Basket Raffle. These baskets contain valuable items and certificates. All the baskets together contain over $2000 worth of gifts and gift certificates donated by the area business community.

The youngsters can visit the Kid’s Santa Craft Workshop and face painting inside one of the heated tents. The Morgantown Arts Center will be providing various holiday craft activities for children in this workshop.

The Christmas Craft Market provides a showcase for visitors to shop for holiday gifts and home decorating items. Selected items available for purchase from the handpicked vendors include things such as baked goods and cheese; hand blown glass ornaments and assorted holiday items; Handwoven and quilted items;  hand-painted wood Items; hand-made soaps.  Other unique gift items such as hand-crafted blacksmith items, “live-edge” tables; hand-knit scarves, jewelry, candles, fresh Christmas wreaths and more are available.  Sand Castle Winery from Erwinna, PA will also be at the event giving out samples and selling their delicious wines by the bottle.

Admission is $7.00 for adults, Children 12 & under are Free.  Parking is free on-site.

Christmas at Joanna” happens Friday December 6, from 5 pm to 9 pm and Saturday and Sunday, December 7 & 8, 4 pm to 9 pm at Historic Joanna Furnace Iron Works “Where the Spirit of Christmas Comes Alive”!

Joanna Furnace is located three miles north of Morgantown off Route 10. Look for signs and enter by turning on Furnace Road. Parking is available on site and along Furnace Road. A safely lighted, easily accessible parking area is located along Furnace Road. For the safety of visitors, all are encouraged to avoid parking along route 10.

The Hay Creek Valley Historical Association is a non-profit organization.  Net event proceeds support the education, research, restoration and preservation of the significant 18th & 19th century Joanna Furnace Iron Works and its community. For additional information visit, friend Joanna Furnace on Facebook or call 610-286-0388.

Wednesday, 25 September 2019 / Published in News

Family Fun, Fabulous Foods and Restoration at Hay Creek Apple festival

MORGANTOWN, PA – Historic Joanna Furnace begins its celebration of the fall harvest season on Saturday, October 12 and Sunday, October 13. For almost forty years, the ever-popular Hay Creek Apple Festival has been a family tradition. This event draws visitors of all ages to those favorite traditional foods, seasonal hands-on activities for kids, the historic iron-making complex tours, a large flea market and much more. The crisp fall air and the crackle of leaves underfoot set the mood for this old-style tribute to fall and delicious culinary delights based on the ever-popular apple.

With its tasty variety of apple foods, the Hay Creek Apple Festival is one of the best places in the region to experience the many ways apples were served over two hundred years. Visitors can enjoy a variety of apple specialties, eating on-site or by taking the foods home.  The two-day event opens each day with our Apple Pancake and Sausage Breakfast served from 7:00 am to 11:00 am.

The Apple Festival menu includes such favorites as apple dumplings (served with milk), apple pies, apple crisp, Schnitz-un-Knepp, apple sausage sandwiches, apple fritters, apple bread, apple crisp (served with whipped cream), apples for sale, hand-dipped ice cream also available with apple specialties, and fresh-pressed cider. Other menu items include Homemade Mabel’s Kettle-Cooked Soups (Chicken Corn, Beef Vegetable, Ham & Bean), chicken potpie, hamburgers and hot dogs, French fries, soda, water and coffee.   As always, our famous chicken pot pie and Mabel’s homemade kettle-cooked soups are available by the quart to take home. 

In the early days of the Joanna Furnace community, apples were an important food source all year long. Many varieties could keep for months. Children of the early families had the vital job of checking the apples stored in barrels in the root cellar, making sure that “one bad apple” did not “spoil the bunch.”

The annual apple-baking contest will also take place. The Hay Creek Apple Dessert Contest is open to all those who have “that special family recipe,” which was handed down over the years, or to those who love to create their own special desserts. Details of the contest and prizes can be found at

The Annual Hay Creek Flea Market will be open at 7:00 a.m. A huge flea market will take place both days where visitors can purchase everything from household items, antique, vintage, children’s toys and clothing, and craft/home décor items.

Interested in being a Flea Market vendor? Call Kathleen at 610-914-8152. Vendor registration and set-up starts Friday – October 11th starting at 10 am.  Vendor applications can also be downloaded by using this link:

Numerous family activities round out the fun. These family events include scarecrow building, pumpkin painting, face painting for kids, and hay and pony rides. The children will love to ride on the popular Apple Barrel Express. A toy train exhibit will be on display in the Mechanical Technology Building.

Visitors can also purchase ‘scarecrow kits’ to take home. These kits will include the “t” frame, pants, shirt, head, string and accessories. As each scarecrow will have its own personality, each kit will contain different details including such varying things as bandana or belt, hat, tie, etc. and a small amount of straw to stick out of the hands and feet. Homebuilders can use their own newspaper to stuff their scarecrow.

Additional activities include a Petting Zoo and early machinery exhibits operating in the Mechanical Technology Building. Everyone will be able to enjoy visiting the historic ironworks buildings and learning about the Joanna Furnace from our interpreters.

In recognition of National Archaeology Month, there will be an archaeology table set up to introduce families to this exciting activity.

According to Mark Zerr, Executive Director, “This is an exceptional year for Hay Creek. In 2019 almost $300,000 was invested in our preservation projects. Visitors will have an opportunity to see our latest restoration project, the wheelwright shop which was under study and planning for the past several years and is currently under construction.”

Also, visitors can see our other project – phase one of the furnace bosh preservation. This significant project was underwritten by a PHMC Keystone Historic Preservation Grant, a grant from the Berks County Community Foundation, a National Historic Preservation Appell Grant, along with the friends and members of the Hay Creek Valley Historical Association.  The work on this valuable artifact was performed by the International Chimney Corporation of Buffalo, New York, famous for successfully relocating the Cape Hatteras Light House.

The Hay Creek Apple Festival at Historic Joanna Furnace is open on Saturday, October 12, 7:00 am to 5:00 pm and Sunday, October 13, 7:00 am to 3:00 pm.

The Festival site is at Historic Joanna Furnace Iron Works located just off Route 10, three miles north of Morgantown; turn right on Furnace Road. Admission to the Festival is FREE. Parking is on site with a donation.

For more information, visit or call 610-286-0388