Friends of Hopewell Furnace to present “Mark Bird: Founder of Hopewell Furnace”

The signature of Hopewell Furnace founder Mark Bird. Photo provided by Friends of Hopewell Furnace

Who was Mark Bird? Politician? Businessman? Slave owner? Patriot? Noted historian Dan Graham will preview his new work on Mark Bird at Hopewell Furnace on Sunday, August 11. Sponsored by the Friends of Hopewell Furnace, the free program will begin at 3:30 p.m. in the park’s Conference Center.

On August 23, 1770, Bird was granted rights to land to build Hopewell Furnace. During the Revolutionary War, Bird shipped supplies to George Washington’s army at Valley Forge, manufactured cannon for the Continental Navy and raised a militia company which he outfitted. He lost Hopewell Furnace in 1788 to bankruptcy. To date, there has not been a definitive work on Hopewell’s first ironmaster. The National Park Service does not have a likeness. Only his signature and the American legacy of Hopewell Furnace remain.

Dan Graham is an early Pennsylvania iron researcher and a Potts and Rutter family historian with numerous works published in journals and historical societies. As part of his research on Mark Bird, he has just published a paper on William Bird (Mark Bird’s father) founder of Birdsboro, PA. He holds a B.S. from West Virginia University and an MPA from George Washington University. He is retired and lives in Montrose, Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania.

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While at Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site visitors are encouraged to go into the village, tour the buildings and learn about the Iron Making Industry and why Hopewell Furnace is important to our nation’s history. The park is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and 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 hofu_superintendent@nps.gov.