Cornwall Furnace is indeed a unique survivor of the early American iron industry. Originally built by Peter Grubb in 1742, the furnace underwent extensive renovations in 1856-57 under its subsequent owners, the Coleman family, and closed in 1883. It is this mid-19th century ironmaking complex which survives today. At Cornwall, furnace, blast equipment, and related buildings still stand as they did over a century ago. Here visitors can explore the rambling Gothic Revival buildings where cannons, stoves, and pig iron were cast, and where men labored day and night to satisfy the furnace’s appetite for charcoal, limestone, and iron ore.
Cornwall Iron Furnace is part of a National Historic Landmark District by the U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service. It has also been designated a National Historical Landmark by the American Society of Metals, and a National Historic Mechanical Engineering Landmark by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, citing Cornwall Furnace as “the only one of America’s hundreds of 19th century charcoal fueled blast furnaces to survive fully intact.”