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Letterbox Back Story: About the Mary Ann Furnace

by Silent Doug

The Mary Ann Furnace was founded in 1761 by George Ross and Mark Bird. Ross was an attorney in Lancaster, PA, and was one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. The iron ore forge and furnace manufactured cannon, cannonballs and shot for the Continental Army under the command of General George Washington. It also made cast iron stoves.

The Furnace was located along Furnace Creek in southeastern York County, near Hanover, PA. The site was chosen because of the abundant supply of chestnut trees in the area. This hardwood timber was well-suited to burn into charcoal which was used to smelt the ore. Mary Ann Furnace was the first furnace built in Pennsylvania west of the Susquehanna River, and operated until at least 1838. The property on which the furnace was situated was acquired by the Consumer's Water Company of Hanover in 1895.

Mary Ann Furnace Plaque

In 1949, the local chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution erected a plaque (above) on the site of the Iron Master's home, approximately one mile west of the furnace, on Black Rock Road on the boundary of Codorus State Park. A nearby hiking trail is named in honor of the Mary Ann Furnace.

"Mary Ann" was a popular name for forges; there were a number of other Mary Ann Furnaces in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and other states. This furnace's extant records are in the possession of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.

Go to the Mary Ann Furnace Letterbox

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