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An Iron Plantation in Pennsylvania

By Linda Tancs

Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site in Elverson, Pennsylvania, is an example of an American 19th century rural “iron plantation.” Operating from 1771 to 1883, Hopewell and other iron plantations led the industrial revolution in the United States. Hopewell and sites like it were called iron plantations because these early industrial enterprises were typically isolated, largely self-sufficient communities centered around the production of iron for sale. Comprising 848 acres, the site’s cold-blast iron furnace and accompanying community have been restored to the way it looked during its heydey in the 1830s and 1840s.

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