Monday, August 8, 2011

Long Pond Ironworks Museum

Steam-powered sawmill on Longhouse Rd. - early 20th Century

The Long Pond Ironworks Museum is open to the public Saturdays and Sundays between 1pm and 4pm April through November. Organized groups and schools may arrange Museum visits by appointment all year.

The museum, operated and staffed by volunteers, opened for its first season on Saturday, April 10, 1999. Inside the renovated Old Country Store are interpretive displays, artifacts and relics from the furnace area and ironworkers village. Photographs and artifacts help illustrate how the area looked and what life was like in this industrial complex. There are also a limited number of items available for purchase.

Take a virtual tour of the Ironworks 

Long Pond Ironworks was founded in 1766 by the German ironmaster Peter Hasenclever. With financial backing from British investors, Hasenclever purchased the existing Ringwood Ironworks as well as huge parcels of land, including the 55,000-acre Long Pond Tract. He also imported more than 500 European workers and their families to build ironmaking plantations at Ringwood, Long Pond and Charlottenburg in New Jersey and at Cortland in New York. From the wilderness they carved roads; built forges, furnaces and homes; and created supporting farms. At Long Pond, they dammed the river in order to provide water power to operate the air blast for a furnace and a large forge.

Long Pond Ironworks today tells a fascinating tale of ironmasters who built and developed the iron industry in the Highlands. Their contributions to history in times of peace and times of war reach far beyond the local economy. These nearly forgotten chapters of history need to be retold and remembered. Within the 175-acre Long Pond Ironworks Historic District lie the ruins of three iron blast furnaces, including the original Colonial-era furnace constructed in 1766, and two larger furnaces built for Civil War production; evidence of iron forges; remains of waterpower systems; and a variety of workers' homes and commercial buildings that were critical parts of the ironworking village. Long Pond also illustrates the evolution of ironmaking technology, as shown in the remains of the three successive furnaces, the ore roaster and the hydropower systems. The continual search for more efficient operations and materials is a story of industrial ingenuity at its best.
The Friends of Long Pond Ironworks, Inc. (FOLPI) is seeking additional volunteers so the hours the museum is open can be expanded. They also give monthly and special tours of the Historic District as well as educational-outreach programs for schools, Scouts, clubs and other organizations.

A Master Plan for the Long Pond Ironworks National Historic Landmark has been developed by the N.J. Division of Parks and Forestry, with help from the Friends of Long Pond Ironworks. The plan calls for the restoration of structures within the Historic District; stabilization of many of its ruins; ongoing archaeological excavation and research; and interpretation of the site to the public. You are welcome to become part of this process by taking advantage of the public tours and by becoming a member. Non-members are welcome to attend monthly meetings to learn more.

North Wheel - 1909

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