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A Ritual of Spring: Sheep Shearing Day at Hopewell Furnace NHS

May 08, 2017 • by Hopewell Furnace NHS
Sheep shearing

Ever see a sheep get a haircut? The National Park Service invites the public to celebrate Mother’s Day at Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site.  On Sunday, May 14th, park staff, volunteers and professional sheep shearer Randy Stitzel will demonstrate the process of shearing sheep and explain the importance of the farm operations at historic Hopewell Furnace.  Visitors will have the opportunity to observe both the modern method of harvesting the wool with electric powered clippers and the 19th century method using hand shears.  This popular and informative program will begin at 12:00noon and continue until 4:00 p.m. rain or shine.  Returning this year will be costumed park volunteers who will explain and demonstrate some of the historic uses of the sheep and other animals on the furnace’s farm.  Along with the farm related demonstrations, historic charcoal making, blacksmithing, cooking and other historic skills will be demonstrated. The village store will be open for business throughout the event.Hopewell Furnace, active from 1771 to 1883, is one of the most thoroughly preserved examples of an 18th and 19th Century iron-making community.  Park visitors can walk its pathways of history, exploring structures such as the cast house, ironmaster’s mansion, blacksmith shop and barn.  Livestock at the park’s farm include animals reminiscent of the types that were used to support the work force when the furnace was an active business and community.Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site preserves and interprets an early American industrial landscape from natural resource extraction to enlightened conservation.  Showcasing an iron plantation and it surrounding countryside, all the park’s facilities are open most of the year  9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday including Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, and Columbus Day.  It is closed on other Federal Holidays.  During its summer season the park will be open seven days per week. Hopewell Furnace is located five miles south of Birdsboro, PA on Route 345.  No entrance fees are charged.   For more information stop by the park’s visitor center, call 610-582-8773, visit the park’s web site at or contact us by e-mail at [email protected]  Visitors with specific needs may contact the park for assistance in advance of their visit.   

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