Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Charcoal Hearths

Originally uploaded by P_Linehan.
Yesterday I hiked on the Charcoal Hearth Trail at Caledonia State Park. Five of the old hearth sites are marked along the trail that goes around the hill.

The hearths were part of the charcoal production necessary for the iron industry in the 1800's. All that's left of the hearths now are the flattened areas, usually about twenty or so feet in diameter. There is also a network of trails that were necessary to haul out the finished charcoal.

Here is another one of the hearths:

This is a picture from Penn State Mont Alto showing a hearth. The caption says it was the last hearth in 1905. But this was at least fifteen years after the iron industry ended. Maybe it was a forestry student project?

The trail starts at the entrance to the park along Rte. 30 in Fayetteville, PA. It is also the site of the Caledonia Furnace that was owned by the abolitionist Senator, Thaddeus Stevens. The original was destroyed by the Confederate Army on the way to Gettysburg.

Follow this link to the rest of the pictures.