Sunday, July 25, 2010
The commonwealth of Pennsylvania is full of small ghosts towns. Peppered throughout the state are small reminders of towns who strived to survive, yet fell into non-existence. From the little mining towns of western Pennsylvania, to the timber rich villages of northeastern Pennsylvania, all had aspirations of putting together enough industry to put their names on the map. Unfortunately after the industries washed up, and dispersed with technology, most of these towns vanished into state game lands. Leaving nothing behind but small reminders of what could have been, decaying foundations overrun with vegetation, and the occasional town cemetery hidden eerily in the woods leave constant reminders.
Though the most famous ghost town in Pennsylvania still attracts thousands of visitors every year. In fact the federal government helps to keep it that way.
The town of Hopewell was established due to its lucrative iron making furnaces. The Hopewell furnace was established in 1771 and would quickly become the largest iron making producer in the country. The industrial town shortly followed. The employees of the furnace would receive notes for their work, which could than be cashed in to local merchants for goods.
The furnace prospered most in times of despair, the civil war proved to be the most profitable time for the furnace. The furnace supplied goods and ammunition to both Union and Confederate soldiers. During times of peace the furnace maintained by supplying the nation with kettles, machinery and their famous pot-bellied stoves. In the year 1883 the entire town was left abandoned, leaving behind homes, furnaces, workshops, and even a church. Today the furnace and town are maintained by the United States parks department. It is considered to be the best preserved iron making town in all of North America.