Curtin Village
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       Eagle Ironworks at Curtin Village

Furnace - The Curtin estate consisted of 30,000 acres of land, 3,000 of which made up the village and farms. The iron ore was mined at open pit mines a few miles away. Curtin's "Pleasant Furnace" at Eagle Ironworks was a waterwheel-powered cold blast charcoal furnace – the last one in operation in the USA. Most of the pig iron produced here was sent to the nearby forge and converted into wrought iron.  Some of the wrought iron was then formed into sheets, bars and wire at a nearby rolling mill.

 

Early on, the iron products were transported to Eastern markets on wagons. Later they were floated down the Bald Eagle Creek to the Susquehanna River on arks. The Bald Eagle and Spring Creek canal, begun in Lock Haven, PA in 1834, was finished in 1848. Boats could then move the iron from Curtin Village to Harrisburg, Philadelphia and various seaports. In 1865, when railroad service was extended from Bellefonte to Curtin Village, the iron products were shipped by train.

 

Iron was produced at Pleasant Furnace from 1820 until 1921, when the furnace burned to the ground. The furnace was meticulously reconstructed in the 1970s as a detailed replica of the original furnace.
Visitors can tour the furnace, blast house, casting house, bridge house and tuyers shed. There is also a fascinating display of 19th century farm machinery and old tools. The restored personal carriage that belonged to Roland Curtin's son, Pennsylvania Governor Andrew Curtin, is also on display at the furnace.

Workers' Village  – In the workers’ village, there is a two-room log cabin furnished with items typical of a worker’s home and other buildings as well. Most of the workers lived in Curtin Village. In 1850, there were 181 men listed on the ironwork’s time books. The ironworks also hired seasonal workers who stayed at the boarding house. These workers were involved in making and hauling charcoal, mining iron ore and limestone, operating the furnace, forge and rolling mill. Others were employed as carpenters, blacksmith, harness makers, drivers and craftsmen. Teachers staffed the school, shopkeepers managed the company store, there were ministers at two churches, farmers and a miller. Women worked as seamstresses, laundresses and household help at the mansion.

 

To attract and keep workers, the Curtains offered them free housing for their families or in the boarding house, space for gardens to grow their own vegetables and keep a cow and chickens, a company grocery/dry goods store where they could buy flour, sugar, salt, coffee etc. as well as cloth to make their clothing. Since Curtin Village was a self-sufficient community, a worker’s pay was credited on the books of the company store and the goods he or she bought were deducted from that credit. If a worker had store credits left at the end of the month, they received cash.

 

Roland Curtin's goal was to create a self-sufficient community to meet his need for experienced workers and also fulfill his workers' basic needs. From 1810 to 1921, Curtin Village flourished and met that goal as a successful company town.


There is a pavilion with picnic tables near the mansion/furnace for visitors to use. Grills are not permitted.

 

 

 

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