ELVERSON - With the help of around 100 friends, Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site celebrated its 70th anniversary on Saturday, August 2.

Though the official anniversary was on Sunday, Saturday morning was filled with events to give visitors and friends a sense of the importance of the furnace.

The main theme for the day's events was preservation and conservation and the new paint and tiled roof of the Cast House were highlighted in particular.

An unofficial theme was the importance of preservation because of what it means for Americans today and for those in the future.

"It's not only an admiration of the past, it's understanding who we are, where we came from and where we're going," said Reverend John Kolle, a strong supporter of Hopewell.

Also present were Rep. Jim Gerlach (R-6), Berks County Commissioner Kevin Barnhardt (D), Birdsboro Mayor Bob Myers and Charles Jacob for the Friends of Hopewell.

"This is your national park," said Superintendent Edie Shean-Hammond during her opening remarks. "It was the second national historic site and the first to be saved by the Civilian Conservation Corp."

"I'm really impressed with the great work of those here... the team has come together, said Gerlach during his greeting, congratulating the volunteers.

In addition to the celebration of Hopewell, Boy Scout Justin Frey was awarded for being a candidate for his Eagle Scout ranking.

Frey helped replace a bridge on the property that has allowed visitors to access the ironmaster's garden, which includes such plants as medicinal herbs.

The events started with the Sons of the American Revolution marching to the "pile," a stack of wood covered in earth used to make charcoal.

As a light rain began, Gerlach lit the pile and then the group moved to the Cast House where there was an honorary ribbon cutting for the renovated Cast House.

"It's the significant structure of the park," said Shean-Hammond.

After the comments and greetings from a variety of people, including those mentioned above, the guests were invited to pound sand with reenactors and enjoy complimentary beverages and cookies.

"We're looking forward to the centennial [anniversary for the National Park Services]," said Shean-Hammond after the greetings. "We will be ready to celebrate 100 years."

She said the number one goal was to work on stormwater management on the property. Currently there is flooding that she would like to get under control.

She also thanked the volunteers that help keep the historic site running. She said the day was also to celebrate their hard work.

"We would not have what we have today without them... It's the people of this community that make this place come alive," she said.

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