The Berks-Mont News (

A Three-Night 1863 Victorian Christmas at Joanna Furnace

By Submitted by Joanna Furnace

Friday, November 22, 2013

From 5 to 9 p.m., Dec. 6 through Dec. 8, visitors to Joanna Furnace will be whisked away from the stresses of their contemporary Christmas season—back to the joyous celebration of the Christmas of 1863. This was a bittersweet time for the ironmaster’s family and the village inhabitants at Joanna Furnace. They celebrated the Holiday, gave thanks that the Confederate Army was pushed back below the Mason-Dixon line in July of that year and were over joyed that the ironmaster’s three sons Bentley, William and L. Heber were back home from the war. Visitors of all ages will be able to experience that long ago time and gain a new perspective on their own holiday celebration.
Candle light illuminates the entire furnace complex.
The historic site takes on an entirely new glow. More than one thousand glowing luminaries warmly light various furnace walkways. Visitors are encouraged to explore the furnace complex by following these clearly defined pathways. All aspects of this night time event set the stage for an unforgettable family experience. Bring your camera!
Savor festival foods surrounded by those you love, stroll through our Christmas Craft Market
The Hay Creek Valley Historical Association is proud to provide guests with a variety of wholesome holiday foods. Enjoy such homemade foods as sausage sandwiches; hot dogs; pork and sauerkraut & mashed potatoes; soups, chili; and French fries. Warm up with a steaming cup of hot chocolate, hot mulled cider or coffee.
Browse among holiday crafts items sold by over 30 vendors in the annual Christmas Craft Market. Guests will find hand-carved Santas; redware pottery; hand painted and pressed flower ornaments, electric candles, hand turned wooden pens and bottle stoppers; Alpaca fiber items, hand-woven linens and scarves; jewelry and jewelry boxes; antiques; baked goods; cookies and candy; September Farm Cheese; fresh roasted nuts; kettle corn and many other holiday home décor and gifts.
New for 2013, HCVHA has expanded the Christmas Market with an additional area including a heated tent for vendors offering an even wider selection to choose from. In this year’s Gift Basket Raffle, items valued at over $2000 have already been donated by local businesses. Also new for this year, visitors can enter the Christmas Tree Raffle for chances to win a fresh cut Christmas tree.
Caroling Around a Roaring Fire and Family Fun:
Joanna Furnace Carolers will entertain guests with traditional Christmas Carols sung around the central bon fire. Kris Kringle will make a special appearance. All youngsters should be on the lookout for the switch-carrying Belsnickle. He’ll make his presence known by passing out candy to all the ‘good’ boys and girls. Bonfire programs are scheduled to take place at 6 pm and 7:30 pm each evening. Enjoy an old fashioned wagon ride with your family as the tractor slowly meanders along the luminary pathways. Children can enjoy the Christmas light maze which will once again adorn the historic grounds at Joanna Furnace.
Tour And Enjoy Historic Buildings:
The Historic Joanna Furnace iron making complex buildings will have be illuminated for the event. Visitors can tour the historic site and learn more about the Office/Store, Blacksmith Shop, Blowing Engine House, Casting House, Charcoal Barn, and the Furnace itself. Guided by lantern, join Joanna Furnace historians as they retell the rich history of the iron making community. Tours are free. The ongoing group tours begin at 6 PM. Visitors wishing to join a tour are to meet by the small bonfire in the Christmas Craft Market.
The Joanna Furnace Mule Stable will be transformed into the portions of the over 200-year old ironmaster’s mansion, the residence of the Ironmaster Levi Bull Smith. As visitors enter the warm glowing home the pleasant aroma of the freshly cut cedar Christmas Tree is a welcoming sensation. Meander through the kitchen and watch as young women of the Ironmaster’s household busily prepare delicious Holiday baked cakes, pies, and baskets of cookies for the 1863 holiday celebration. Visitors can sample fresh cookies supplied by the HCVHA bakers as well as from Shady Maple Farm Market and Pepperidge Farm .
Next stroll through the parlor furnished with a Victorian sofa, chair, side table and fireplace. Behold the magnificent traditional 15 foot tall decorated cedar tree which proudly adorns the Ironmaster’s home. Guests will learn about the early handmade ornaments that decorate the tree.
Live Nativity
The Living Rock Bible Church from Elverson will again present the interpretation of the Live Nativity.
Visitors will see Mary, Joseph and their newborn baby Jesus. Surrounding them are sheep, llamas, and a donkey. Wise men and an angel will complete this part of this re-enactment.
Trains, Toys & Old Time Machinery . . . In the Mechanical Technology Building
No Christmas event is complete with toy trains. Children of all ages will be enthralled by the Antique & Vintage Train Display – located in the Mechanical Technology Building, Bay 6. Also an Erector Set Exhibit will be on display as well. To complete the historic interpretation of early technology, the 19th century line shaft will be operating actual old-time manufacturing machinery.
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 new safely lighted, easily accessible parking area has been added 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 and restoration of this significant 18th & 19th century charcoal-fueled iron furnace.
For additional information visit , friend Hay Creek Valley Historical Association on Facebook or call 610-286-0388.