Union Township—In continuing recognition of the 300th Anniversary of Iron and Steel in Pennsylvania, the Friends of Hopewell Furnace will host storyteller and local historian Susannah Brody’s exploration of Dowlin Forge. The free program will begin at 2 p.m. in the Hopewell Furnace Conference Center on Sunday, May 7.
Considered the most complex work in the iron industry, forges provided the intermediary process to convert pig iron into iron that could be worked by blacksmiths. Established in 1785 as the Mary Ann Forge, this finery forge was located in Uwchlan Township, along the East Branch of the Brandywine Creek. Purchased by John Dowlin in 1801, much of the forge’s work by the 1820’s was processing pig iron into plate iron for rolling into boiler plate. There are some 30 of the company’s ledgers that still exist today. One of which is in the archives of Hopewell Furnace.
Brody, a retired teacher, has a Master of Arts degree in oral traditions from the Graduate Institute of Connecticut and is a member of Patchwork, a storytelling guild, and the National Storytelling Network. In addition to “The History of Dowlin Forge,” Brody’s publications include: “Uwchlan Township: 300 Years Above the Valley”, “Remembering Chester County: Stories from Valley Forge to Coatesville”, a three volume set of Chester County Biographies and a definitive work on the making of charcoal.
Established in 1994, the Friends of Hopewell Furnace is the official non-profit fundraising arm of Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site. A 501(c)3 citizen organization, its mission is to support the preservation, maintenance and programs of Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site. Donations to the Friends may be tax deductible according to the rules set by the Internal Revenue Service. For more information visit the Friends web site at www.friendsofhopewellfurn.org.
While at Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site visitors are encouraged to go into the village, tour the buildings and learn about iron making and why Hopewell Furnace is important to our nation’s history. Open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday thru Sunday, the park is located five miles south of Birdsboro, PA, off of Route 345. For more information stop by the park’s visitor center, call 610-582-8773, visit the park’s web site at www.nps.gov/hofu, or contact the park by e-mail at [email protected].