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 email@example.com 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
“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.
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 www.haycreek.org, friend Joanna Furnace on Facebook or call 610-286-0388.
Hay Creek Apple Festival to be held October 12th &13th at Historic Joanna Furnace near Morgantown, PA
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 https://haycreek.org/apple-festival-baking-contest/
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: https://haycreek.org/flea-market-information/
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 www.haycreek.org or call 610-286-0388
RESTORATION OF HISTORIC PROPORTIONS AT JOANNA FURNACE
Morgantown, PA . . . 2019 has been a banner year for restoration and preservation projects by the Hay Creek Valley Historical Association at the 228-year-old Joanna Furnace Ironworks near Morgantown. Approximately $300,000 will be invested this year to bring the charcoal furnace back to life through several restoration, preservation and research projects . . . preserving the blast furnace bosh, rebuilding the wheelwright shop and installing shutters on the office/store. In addition, a team from Kutztown University Department of Anthropology & Sociology is working on an archaeological study in the cellar of the Office/Store before installing a brick floor.
Ron Schlegel, President of the Hay Creek Valley Historical Association states, “Every project we undertake, within the historic area, follows the rigorous National Historical Standards as defined by the Federal Historic Preservation Guidelines. It’s these guidelines that define specific techniques, methods, materials and the required research. The federal standards drive how we execute projects. Following the rigorous Historic Preservation Standards will ultimately benefit the site when we work to obtain the coveted National Historic Landmark Status for the Joanna Furnace Ironworks in the future.”
Restoration of the Joanna Furnace Wheelwright Shop is set to begin. After almost 15 years of exhaustive research by Hay Creek archaeology volunteers, the original stone foundation has revealed the footprint of this historic building. This mortise and tenon frame structure was about 17 feet by 24 feet. Executive Director Mark Zerr said “It stood until the late 1940s. Mainly it was a woodworker’s shop. It was the wheelwright’s responsibility to keep the company’s wagons ‘on the road’. His job was to construct wheels, spokes, hubs and even the wagons that would haul the charcoal, iron ore and limestone to the site and ultimately transport the finished iron products to market.”
Because only one partial photo of this building exists, Hay Creek preservationists had to rely heavily on archaeology to create a complete reproduction of the structure. The archaeology team uncovered many artifacts over the years but the critical discoveries for the reconstruction were the foundation size, broken glass which indicated window placement, door size and roof material (over the years there were three roofs-two of beaver tail tile and the final of slate). The old partial photo added visual evidence to the fact it was made of board and batten construction like the blacksmith shop across the road. The photo also gave the restoration team a gable end view which enabled them to establish the exact dimensions of the building as well as the pitch of the roof.
Because of the stringent restoration standards Hay Creek subscribes to, 18th Century Restorations of Pottstown was awarded the mortise and tenon framing part of the project. William M. Dunleavy Company of West Chester, who specializes in historic roof restoration, will be constructing the slate roof. John C. Zerr & Sons of Geigertown will be constructing the poured concrete footer and stone mason Tim Angelo of Morgantown will be reconstructing the red sandstone foundation.
The Joanna Furnace Wheelwright shop is expected to cost approximately $115,000. The Hay Creek Valley Historical Association thanks an anonymous donor family who will be underwriting the major portion of this restoration project. This restoration donation honors the tradition of their father, grandfather and great-grandfather who were themselves, wheelwrights. This building will be completed in fall 2019.
Phase one of the Joanna Furnace bosh preservation has been completed. The Joanna blast furnace is unique among most of the remaining charcoal iron furnaces in Pennsylvania. It has one of the only ‘period’ boshes still in existence. This bosh, rebuilt before the last blast in 1898, makes Joanna Furnace an extraordinarily unique and valuable historic site.
The bosh is the firebrick lining of the lower funnel-shaped section of the blast furnace lining. This is where the temperatures were the hottest, exceeding 3000 degrees Fahrenheit. Because of severe wear the bosh was rebuilt every nine to fourteen months for as long as the blast furnace was in operation.
The bosh project phase one was underwritten by a PHMC Keystone Historic Preservation Grant, a grant from the Berks County Community Foundation, 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.
2019 has been a banner year in the restoration and preservation of Historic Joanna Furnace. Our event guests to the furnace are encouraged to visit the restoration sites. Executive Director, Mark Zerr stated, “Each year we strive to make the Joanna Furnace Ironworks more exciting for our guests. Our events are dedicated to preserving our local history and telling the story of the 18th and 19th centuries within the Joanna Furnace community.”
Attention Teachers and School Groups — Download a Hay Creek Festival Student Day registration form here.
Morgantown, PA. On Saturday, April 6th Civil War buffs and enthusiasts are invited to come out to Historic Joanna Furnace to learn about Civil War reenacting. On this day the PA 50th & 69th Civil War regiments will meet at historic Joanna Furnace for their annual training day. This is where participants in these Civil War groups will go over all safety aspects of the hobby including proper handling of the rifle, as well as proper rifle firing techniques. The groups will also drill their troops, so they are ready to maneuver properly while out at Civil War reenactments. In addition, all personal reenactment 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 observe and to ask questions. Plus, visitors who want to get involved in Civil War reenacting are welcome to sign up to be a part of this living history group. Admission and parking are free at this event.
The event starts off at 7 am with an all-you-can-eat pancake and sausage breakfast in the Joanna Furnace Mule Stable. Other light fare including hot dogs, soup and drinks will be sold throughout the day. In the evening from 6:30 to 8:30 pm Hay Creek Valley Historical Association volunteers will join in the festivities with a lantern-lit tour of the 18th & 19th century Iron Works. Visitors will be able to visit the old furnace store/office, charcoal barn, blacksmith shop, casting house and see the iron furnace itself.
The 69th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry an Irish Unit, also known as the 69th Penna. Irish Volunteers is mostly known for repulsing Pickett’s charge at the “Angle” at Gettysburg on July 3rd, 1863. The 69th PVI fought every campaign with the Army of the Potomac from 1861-1865. Of the 1,007 men mustered in, in 1861, less the 56 still served at the surrender at Appomattox in 1865.
Today the 69th PVI is made up of individual men, women, fathers, sons, women, and families from all walks of life who are engaged in a wide variety of activities. We welcome all individuals who are interested in joining us to honor the men of the 69th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry. The 69th PVI honors the original 69th members by participating in Civil War reenactments, School presentations, Parades, Living histories programs as well as raising money for grave preservation of the unmarked graves of the original 69th PVI members.
Each year before our reenacting season starts, the 69th PVI participates in the School of Soldier. This is where we get together to refresh and to shake off the rust so to speak over the winter down time. We 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 of the 69th PVI is ready to take the field safely.
The School of Soldier event will be shared with the 50th PVI. The 50th PVI is from Berks County, Schuylkill County, Lancaster County, and Luzerne County. The 50th was mostly a German unit. They were known by General Grant as “Old Reliable”. The 50th PVI was at Ft. Wagner with the 54th Mass. You may have seen the movie “Glory” which covers this battle at the end of the film.
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. Anyone wishing to find more information about the 2019 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.