Monday, December 26, 2016

Pine Grove Furnace

The iron master's home.
We have a family tradition of pancakes every Sunday morning unless something cataclysmic intervenes.  So, this particular day was a pancake event.  To work off all that syrup, we headed to Laurel Lake at Pine Grove Furnace State Park.  Laura and Carl (daughter and son-in-law) rented a canoe and took Alaina, the youngest granddaughter, with them, and Zoey rode with me in Buffalo Gal.  Laurel is a small lake, only 25 acres, but it was a chance to get the girls in a canoe.  Inspiration for a lifelong pursuit can sometimes begin with small memories.

The paymaster's office.  Workers would walk up one side, turn
in their pay sheet, collect their pay, cross over and walk down
the steps on the other side.

This would have been the stables and shop, but is now the
general store and site of the ice cream challenge.
Pine Grove Furnace is an interesting place for those who have not been there.  The state park is 696 acres that straddles the Appalachian Trail.  This is the mid-point on the 2,186-mile Appalachian Trail, and there is a tradition of an Ice Cream Challenge that hikers must stop there and celebrate by the eating of a half-gallon of ice cream.  Being young enough and athletic enough to eat a half-gallon of ice cream without ill effect is worthy of celebration whether you have just walked over a thousand miles or not.  The park was the site of a historic iron works, and the iron masters home, which is still there, was built in 1829.  Trail hikers can spend the night in the iron master’s home.  Also preserved at the site are the furnace,  stables and general store, where hikers may be seen working on that ½ gallon ice cream challenge, the pay master’s office, and the mill, which is now the Appalachian Trail Museum.  The park was also the site of a prisoner of war camp during World War II, but most of that is gone but for a few foundations.

The old mill is now the Appalachian Trail Museum.

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