Hopewell's ‘Establishment Day-Fueling the Furnace' to celebrate the park's 76th birthday

The National Park Service (NPS) invites the public to join the Horse-Shoe Trail Conservancy in celebrating Hopewell Furnace’s 76th Birthday with a dedication of the Hopewell Big Woods Horse-Shoe National Recreation Trail. Establishment Day-- Fueling the Furnace—festivities will begin at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 2, at Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site, according to Superintendent Edie Shean-Hammond.

At 11 a.m., dignitaries will gather at the park’s Connecting Shed for a brief program before the “Lighting of The Pile” signaling another year of producing charcoal following a 5,000 year old tradition . The public is invited to join the party which includes historic casting demonstrations, music, birthday cake and a guided hike along the new National Recreation Trail. The program is free and open to all.

“76 years ago the Secretary of the Interior set aside Hopewell Furnace as an important American cultural landscape. Today, the Hopewell Big Woods Horse-Shoe National Recreation Trail designation affirms our park and its surrounding Hopewell Big Woods as a nationally significant recreational destination as well,” stated Superintendent Shean-Hammond. On August 3, 1938, Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Administration created Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site as the second National Historic Site in the National Park System. On June 3, 2014, the Obama Administration designated the 17.4 mile segment of the Horse-Shoe Trail that winds through Hopewell Big Woods and Hopewell Village as a National Recreation Trail.

Birthday party activities include environmental education fun with free games, posters, and information. Volunteer geologist Teri Smith will present programs on the geologic properties of iron ore, slag and limestone. Living history activities will include children’s games as well as ample time to “pound sand” with Hopewell’s moulders. The ancient art of charcoal making will continue through Aug. 9. The pure carbon charcoal along with other hand made goods will be available for sale at the Village Store.


National Recreation Trail designation recognizes existing trails and trail systems that link communities to recreational opportunities on public lands and in local parks across the nation. The National Recreation Trail System includes some 16,000 miles of trail. The Hopewell Big Woods Horse-Shoe National Recreation Trail will be the second NRT designated within the park’s landscape. Baptism Creek National Recreation Trail was designated in 1985.

Hopewell Furnace is the pre-eminent example of an American Iron Plantation. 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 includes horses, chickens and sheep 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 the story of an early American industrial landscape from extraction to enlightened conservation. Showcasing an iron plantation and its surrounding village, the park restrooms and grounds, including miles of hiking trails, are open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. The park stays open Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Columbus Day and Veterans Day and is closed other federal holidays. Hopewell Furnace is located five miles south of Birdsboro, PA, off Route 345. For more information stop by the national park’s visitor center, call 610-582-8773, visit the park’s web site at www.nps.gov/hofu or contact us by e-mail at hofu_superintendent@nps.gov.

From Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site