Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Fuller/Laurel - 2

Wild apple trees blooming in the woods.

Driving into Pine Grove Furnace (PGF) we nearly collided with a wild turkey that flew across in front of our windshield. I had aspirations of a picture, but she hit the ground running and just kept on going.

Both lakes were created as part of the Pine Grove Furnace operation, but their uses diversified over the years until near the end the two train track spurs that ran into the furnace also brought trainloads of people from as far away as Philadelphia and Baltimore to enjoy the recreational facilities they had built around the lakes. These included fishing, swimming on the Fuller Lake beach, boarding houses for longer stays, and even rental log cabins, many of which still stand as private homes and cottages.

Pine Grove's blast furnace was filled with alternate layers of charcoal,
iron ore, and limestone.  Forced air would elevate temperatures to between
2,600 and 3,000 deg. F.  Molten iron would settle to the bottom.

Mouth of the furnace.  Slag would be raked from the upper doors, and
iron would run from the bottom into forms for iron pigs.

Laurel Lake was created by damming the confluence of Mountain Creek and Sage Run, and was used to run the waterwheel at the Laurel Forge. In the winter, ice was cut from the lake and stored in an icehouse built into the hill on the south side of the lake. The ice would then be carried by train to Baltimore.

Pine Grove Furnace was operated from 1764 to 1895, with the rail service coming in 1870. Three partners started the iron works along Mountain Creek. Besides creating iron pigs or ingots, they produced tinplate for stoves, iron kettles, fireplace hardware, and possibly munitions during the American Revolution. In 1782, Michael Ege purchased the iron works.  His business grew over 32 years until he was sole proprietor of Pine Grove, Cumberland, Holly, and Carlisle iron works.
Iron Master's Mansion, now a youth hostel on Appalachian Trail.

Pine Grove was inherited by his eldest son, Peter Ege. In 1829, Peter built the iron master’s English Tudor mansion for his wife, Jane Arthur Ege, who died in 1841 and was buried at the Pine Grove cemetery. Years later, the mansion would serve as a link in the underground railroad to free slaves escaping from the South.

Jane Ege, born two years before our Declaration of Independence,
resting near the lake since 20 years before the Civil War.


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