The Furnaces of Rivertownes

Cordelia Furnace

Photo courtesy of Lancaster County Historical Society.

The History

Two gentlemen by the names of Cross and Waddell built an anthracite furnace in 1848 at Cordelia, a hamlet located one-half mile southwest of Ironville in West Hempfield Township. With a stack of thirty-one feet in height, and a bosh of eight and one-half feet, its annual rated capacity was 2,000 tons. In 1849, the furnace produced a mere 250 tons. Originally called the Rough and Ready, this furnace was well situated geographically, just a mile from the ore pits of Chestnut Hill, served by a spur of the Columbia and Reading Railroad. The stack built into the hillside, was readily loaded from the Ironville Pike above.

C. S. Kauffman, a native of Washington Borough, acquired the furnace in 1855 and immediately rebuilt the stack, increasing its height to thirty-five feet, and its bosh to ten and one-quarter feet. During a campaign of forty-eight weeks in 1856, 3,471 tons of iron were produced, despite a destructive fire which ruined the boilers and engine house. Kauffman Iron Company, was capitalized for $100,000 in 1866 and valued the furnace at $75,000 at the time of incorporation. The iron depression of 1873 struck hard at Cordelia Furnace, bringing to an end a campaign of three years in duration. The Cordelia Iron Company was formed in 1881 by Hugh M. North, Esquire, to rehabilitate and operate the furnace. After six years the firm took the furnace out of blast, and pursued only the ore-mining rights attached to the property.

Today's Remnants

Cordelia Furnace StackRuins of the casting house and stack are located on private property just off of Ironville Pike northeast of the former Twin Oaks swimming pool.





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