Catoctin Furnace

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Catoctin Furnace Historic District
Catoctin Furnace.jpg
Catoctin Furnace is located in Maryland
Catoctin Furnace
Location Catoctin Furnace, Maryland
Coordinates 39°34′35″N 77°26′2″W / 39.57639°N 77.43389°W / 39.57639; -77.43389Coordinates: 39°34′35″N 77°26′2″W / 39.57639°N 77.43389°W / 39.57639; -77.43389
Built 1774
Architect Unknown
Architectural style No Style Listed
Governing body State
NRHP Reference # 72000578
Added to NRHP February 11, 1972[1]

Catoctin Furnace (also known as Catoctin Iron Furnace) was constructed in 1774 by four brothers Thomas, Baker, Roger and James Johnson to produce pig iron from locally mined hematite.[2][3] In blast by 1776, the furnace provided ammunition (cannonballs) for the American Revolution. Some sources state that it also provided cannon.[4][5][6] They also state that iron from this furnace was (much later of course) used to make plates for the USS Monitor; however that is considered unlikely by researchers.[7] The Johnson brothers owned the furnaces at the site at first collectively, and after 1793 singly, until 1811.[8]

Ultimately, three furnaces were built at the site, each named for the site. The first Catoctin Furnace was rebuilt a short distance away in 1787.[8] The second, named Isabella was built in the 1850s by Jacob Kunkel (references give dates from 1853 to 1867). It still stands, within Cunningham Falls State Park.[9]

The first two furnaces burned charcoal.[10] The third, which opened in 1873, burned coke[11] (some sources say anthracite coal, though this would be more costly[3][12]). The entire complex closed in 1903 (attributed to rising costs and the too-late introduction of a rail link).[6][13][14]

The furnace's remains are located in Cunningham Falls State Park. A walking-tour handout is available in the park's visitor center.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2008-04-15. 
  2. ^ "Records Relating to Pre-National Zoological Park Purchases". Smithsonian Institution. 
  3. ^ a b T. J. C. Williams (1979). History of Frederick County, Maryland. Genealogical Publishing Com. 
  4. ^ George Ernest Barnett (1902). State Banking in the United States Since the Passage of the National Bank Act. Johns Hopkins Press. p. 46. 
  5. ^ "Catoctin Iron Furnace". Greater Emmitsburg Area Historical Society. 
  6. ^ a b George Wireman. "Gateway to the Mountains — Chapter 3: The Catoctin Iron Works". Greater Emmitsburg Area Historical Society. 
  7. ^ Edmund F. Wehrle (March 2000). "Catoctin Mountain Park Historic Resource Study — Chapter Three: Civil War and Decline of Industry". U. S. National Park Service. Retrieved 2007-09-30. 
  8. ^ a b James Moore Swank (1884). History of the Manufacture of Iron in All Ages. p. 194. 
  9. ^ "Catoctin Furnace at Cunningham Falls State Park". The Journey Through Hallowed Ground. Retrieved 2007-09-27. 
  10. ^ "Catoctin Iron Furnace". U. S. National Park Service. 
  11. ^ Directory of Iron and Steel Works of the United States and Canada. American Iron and Steel Institute. 1890. 
  12. ^ Maryland Board of World's Fair Managers (1893). Maryland, Its Resources, Industries and Institutions. Sun job office. 
  13. ^ "Catoctin Furnace at Cunningham Falls State Park". Maryland Department of Natural Resources. 2002-08-28. 
  14. ^ "Civil Engineering in Maryland — Catoctin Furnace". The Johns Hopkins University. 

External links[edit]