Introduction 1 park purpose and significance 2 special mandates affecting the park 6 interpretive themes 7 park mission goals 10 park partners 10 regional context



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FUNDAMENTAL RESOURCES AND VALUES

Park fundamental resources and values are those features, systems, processes, experiences, stories, scenes, sounds, smells, or other attributes, including opportunities for visitor enjoyment that warrant primary consideration during planning and management because they are critical to achieving the park’s purpose and maintaining its significance.


The following fundamental resources and values table was developed during the planning process and reflects the input of the park staff, planning team and other NPS management professionals.


FUNDAMENTAL RESOURCES


ANALYSIS AND GUIDING PRINCIPLES

Iron-related Sites Buildings, structures, sites and landscapes that are related to the furnace operation

Importance

Founded before the American Revolution, Hopewell Furnace operated for more than a century until it finally closed in 1883. It remains one of the most complete examples of a rural American 19th century iron furnace operation. Surrounded by a mosaic of fields and forests that supported the furnace, the core of this ironmaking venture consists of a furnace complex, ironmaster’s house and barns, workshops and worker’s housing, plus ruins of a schoolhouse, anthracite furnace, wheelwright shop and other assorted outbuildings. This resource includes all those buildings identified in the original Executive Order and those buildings and landscapes included in the 1936 restoration plan.


Hopewell is significant for its long history of charcoal-fueled ironworks, as representative of a technology and process important to the economic development of America, and as a rare example of an industrial village, that so often surrounded isolated and remote iron furnaces. Hopewell is also significant as an example of NPS’s early efforts to interpret and display the industrial and social history of the United States.


Current State and Related Trends

There is historic integrity for the site representing an industrial resource with a long history of activity, decline and abandonment, with a subsequent transition into agriculture and recreation; however, the individual components reveal a significantly diminished level of integrity. Reforestation has masked boundaries and obscured former fields. Several historic buildings, agricultural outbuildings and industrial structures are missing. Most of the remaining buildings have had substantial rehabilitation and a number of the primary buildings and landscape features in the core of the village are reconstructions. The lack of temporary structures and three missing historic buildings, as well as, current maintenance practices make the village emptier and cleaner than existed during the furnace’s day.


In the 1930s, the CCC recreated the historic appearance of the village by clearing vegetation and stabilizing historic buildings, regrading the areas around the furnace and tenant house areas, and rebuilding the furnace wall to relocate automobile traffic from the middle of the village.
Between 1955 and 1965, the NPS did extensive treatment on almost every building in the village core, with the goal of restoring the village to its early 19th century appearance. Some of the proposed projects were never realized, such as the reconstruction of the wheelwright shop, schoolhouse and small outbuildings. The following structures were preserved and ruins stabilized: Ironmaster’s House, Ironmaster’s Yard Wall and Kitchen Wall, Charcoal Furnace, Boarding House, Bake Ovens, Spring House, Tenant House 1, Tenant House 3 Barn, East head Race, Tail Race, and the ruins of the Anthracite Furnace, Ironmaster’s Greenhouse, Schoolhouse, Charcoal Kilns, Ore Roaster and Wheelwright Shop. The following buildings were restored: Office/Store, Blacksmith shop (twice), Charcoal House, Tenant House #2 and Tenant House #3. The following structures were reconstructed: Charcoal Furnace complex, Furnace Barn, Bank and Retaining Wall, Smoke House, Cooling Shed, West Head Race, Ironmaster’s Garden Fence, Tenant House #3 Fence, Tenant House #1 Walkway, and the Boarding House Pump and Cover.
In the Furnace Complex, the Charcoal and Connecting Sheds, the Cast and Wheel Houses, and the Office/Store are in good condition. Although its dependencies are in good condition, the Ironmaster’s House is in poor condition. The village barn is in poor condition. Tenant Houses #1 is in fair condition, Tenant House #2 is in poor condition, and Tenant House #2 areis in good condition. The Ore Roaster, Anthracite Furnace, Schoolhouse and Wheelwright Shop are ruins and are in good condition. The fields between the village and PA 345 are in good condition. The orchard and the forests between the village and the state park are in fair condition.
The land uses and activities have changed since the furnace was in blast. Iron is no longer produced, houses no longer occupied, fields no longer planted, and forests no longer logged. However, the spatial organization and environmental response to industrial activity are clearly evident in the present landscape. The furnace and village are visually distinct from the surrounding land, the hillsides remain forested, the lake and stream still provide water power, the circulation system is virtually identical to 1825, demarcation between furnace property and adjacent landowners is roughly discernable, and the cluster arrangement of buildings reflecting production, residential and agricultural use is evident.
The fields and forest patterns are remarkably similar to their 18th and 19th century patterns. The oak-chestnut forest with a healthy understory and ground layer, full of seedlings, no longer exists. Chestnut blight and deer browsing have changed the composition of the forest. Deer have substantially reduced the regenerative viability of the forest. The fencing used around the fields is appropriate to the period of operation, but those used around the gardens are not based on any historic documentation. The Ironmaster’s Garden is not accurately reproduced and is a fraction of its former size. The naturalistic approach to shrub maintenance in this garden is more common to 20th century gardens than to their 19th century more formal predecessor.

The basic circulation network has been returned to its historic alignment and general appearance. For the most part, these roads serve as pedestrian paths and maintenance access to the historic buildings.




Potential Future Threats

The greatest threat to the buildings and structures comes from surface runoff, underground springs and flooding of French Creek. Runoff and groundwater seeps are eroding the roads, retaining walls and foundations. Periodic flooding inundates the Cast House and the Spring House and the resulting high water table causes problems in the tenant houses. Constant levels of high moisture from these abundant sources of water, combined with existing environmental control methods, have resulted in high levels of mold in the Ironmaster’s Mansion.


The water for the wheel comes from Hopewell Lake, just beyond the dam. Historically, maintaining access to an adequate source of water has been problematic. Safety of the Hopewell Dam immediately upstream of the village, and the Scott’s Run Dam, above Hopewell Lake, are critical to the park’s historic resources. The center of the furnace, mansion and worker’s houses lie less than one-quarter mile below the Hopewell Dam along both sides of French Creek.
Access for those with mobility limitations from the main entrance to the village and within the village itself poses a number of problems. The hill down to the village is often difficult to navigate, due to the slope and surface of the road. The path from the mansion to the visitor center has very high steps and awkward hand rails. While park staff is available to bring visitors down into the village by cart., this service is rarely used by visitors. Observation by park staff indicates that for mobility limited visitors, the difficulty in getting down into the village limits these visitors experience to the park.
The modern entrance road (Mark Bird Lane), while providing access to the visitor center, gives visitors the mistaken impression that it was the primary road to the furnace during the historic period. The limited access to the major road (Birdsboro-Warwick Road) reinforces this mistaken impression.


Stakeholder Interest

Hopewell Furnace’s historic village has been identified as a destination for a number of tourism-related initiatives. Fifteen local historic sites have built a coalition for promotion of their sites and Hopewell is one of the primary destinations. Interest has been growing on the county level to expand this coalition to other iron and steel sites and even to other tourist destinations, but the process is slow. Park staff has been involved with another coalition of broader interests, known as Hopewell Big Woods, that expands the interests beyond history to outdoor recreation and complimentary business development. This compleiments a growing interest in land preservation with a sophisticated and active coalition of conservation interests among landowners, land trusts, local and county government officials and state officials. The park is the only place in the country that featureshas had a long term, on-going a public history program demonstrating the making of charcoal following a 3,000 year old tradition. This is made possible by a group of 40 volunteer colliers who are very interested in continuing the tradition.


An emerging partnership with French Creek State Park has identified a number of common land management, facility maintenance and visitor experience interests. Park officials are investigating the potential for more formal and long term partnerships to address these issues.
Hopewell Furnace also has an active volunteer program; the majority of these people participate in interpretive programs in the village. These living history and farm programs are the most popular and predominant image of the park for most visitors.


Law and Policy Guidance

Pertinent federal laws and NPS policy guidance on historic structures, archeology, wetlands, and forest and wildlife management as described in Secretary of the Interior’s Standards of Treatment for Historic Properties, NPS Management Policies, NPS Cultural Management Guidelines and NPS Natural Resource Guidelines. Although there are no federal natural resource designations in the park, the park does contain an Exceptional Value Waterway, State Listed Species habitats and Important Bird and Mammal Areas.




GMP Issues

Expanding the interpretive themes to include the entire history of the site, such as its transportation and production networks and the Underground Railroad; protecting the significant resources, enlivening the visitor experience; and expanding visitation.




CCC-related Sites

Buildings, Structures, and Landscapes



Importance

In 1936 as part of the overall plan for the French Creek Recreation Demonstration Area, the CCC built a 15 acre picnic area in the vicinity of Baptism Creek on both sides of Hopewell Road. It contained a covered picnic shelter, 130 picnic tables, 35 stone fireplaces, one vehicular bridge, two pedestrian bridges, a 100 car parking area, and several miles of trails. In the 1970s, the picnic facilities plus the forests around Baptism Creek and a portion of the East Race were used designated as an Environmental Study Area and the Baptism Creek National Recreation Trail was established. Subsequently, these areas have been used for orienteering and limited recreation.

The Baptism Creek National Recreation Trail designated in (date) is one of the most beautiful trails in the area.


Current State and Related Trends

For the last 20 years, this area has been accessible only by trail. Some of the picnic tables and fireplaces have deteriorated. The parking area has reverted to a field and the picnic shelter is infrequently used, but in good condition. Recent maintenance and SCA summer crews have replaced a bridge, cleared the head race and rehabilitated trails around Baptism Creek.




Potential Future Threats

Lack of use is likely to continue deterioration of the shelter and parking area.



Stakeholder Interest

French Creek State Park is interested in working with the NPS to provide managing to the extent possible the recreational lands cooperatively resulting in a seamless experience for visitors.expanding the recreation opportunities of this area, and the rest of Hopewell Furnace, to siphon off some of the pressure they are experiencing. Mountain bicyMountain Off road bicycle groups and individual enthusiasts are interested in expanding the trails open to mountain bikes. They are especially interested in creating off-road loop rides within public open space. Natural Lands Trust is interested in maintaining and developing additional trails connecting their Crow’s Nest Preserve with local, county, state and national parks.




Law and Policy Guidance

Pertinent federal laws and NPS policy guidance on archeology, wetlands, and forest and wildlife management, and bicycle use and trail development as described in NPS Management Policies, NPS Cultural Management Guidelines, NPS Planning Policies and NPS Natural Resource Guidelines. Although there are no federal natural resource designations in the park, the park does contain an Exceptional Value Waterway, State Listed Species habitats and Important Bird and Mammal Areas. Hopewell Furnace straddles township and county lines and is protected by the Elverson and Union Fire Company of Kulptown and PA State Police.




GMP Issues

Expanding recreation and interpretive opportunities, partnerships for recreation, resource protection, and regional trail system.




Museum Collections and Archives

Importance

Hopewell Furnace has a very complete collection of ledgers and other records of the furnace operations and employee purchases. These records provide insight into the business and lives of employees and their families throughout much of the 19th century. In addition, there is a substantial collection of historic furnishings, toolscarriages and archeological artifacts from the numerous digs archeological excavations in the park.




Current State and Related Trends

The current (1990) scope of collections is very broad. The Park collection includes many pieces that have limited relation to the site. Some of the collection has been displayed in historic buildings in the village and has little environmental control and/or is within the flood zone of French Creek. Only half of the collection has been catalogued.




Potential Future Threats

Damage from lack of environmental control and water are substantial threats to the collections stored and displayed in the historic buildings. Much of the collection is housed in buildings in the village core and faces a number of management issues. Those items in the Cast House, Spring House and Tenant House #1 are in the floodplain and in danger of damage from flooding. Those in the barn are distantly related to the themes and have no environmental control and limited security. Those in the ironmaster’s house have limited environmental control or security. The Ccomputer data base of all Hopewell workers is deteriorating and is quickly becoming inaccessible.

Lack of interest and research limits the potential value of collection and understanding of the relationships among workers and the financial operations of furnace.


Stakeholder Interest

Family members, descendents of workers, other furnaces, state, CCC descendents, university researchers, andLittle interest has been shown in the collections aside from a number of university researchers and genealogists have all shown interest in the collections and data base. These resources have provided park staff and volunteers information for development of public programs and interpretive materials.




Law and Policy Guidance

Pertinent federal laws and NPS policy guidance on collections and archives as described in NPS Management Policies, NPS Cultural Management Guidelines and NPS Natural Resource Guidelines.




GMP Issues

Scope of collections, integration with regional collections plan and appropriate storage.




Landscapes Immediately Surrounding the Village Core

Importance

The areas right around the historic buildings and the fields and forests between the state park and PA 345 were essential to the furnace operations and subsequent agricultural and recreation activities. They are also essential to the interpretive experience of the park visitor.


The domestic landscapes were used for kitchen gardens, pig pens, chicken coops and numerous other uses by the people who lived there. The areas around the furnace were used for storing slag from the furnace, materials for the casting process and finished products that were being shipped to market.
The fields were essential to the food production and transportation activities of the furnace. The streamside meadows were wet, but produced hay and were used for pasturing horses, mules and other animals used to pull carts. In modern times, the stream further down has provided habitat for threatened and endangered species. Although none have been observed in the park, the habitat is the same and these species could be transitory visitors to the park.
The forests were the source of wood for charcoal making and were the location of numerous charcoal hearths and colliers huts. Those close to the furnace were especially prized because the transportation was easy.


Potential Future Threats

Deer and invasive plants pose the most serious issues to the existing resources.




Stakeholder Interest

There is substantial interest by local farms and land trust managers to control deer and invasive species. They believe that Hopewell Furnace NHS is a reservoir of invasive plants and deer that impact their properties. Consequently, they are very interested in joint resource management initiatives to manage these two resource issues.


Visitors and all adjacent landowners are interested in maintaining the rural landscape of fields and forests dotted with historic buildings. For most, this central landscape at Hopewell is the core of this experience.


Law and Policy Guidance

Pertinent federal laws and NPS policy guidance on cultural landscapes and natural resource management as described in NPS Management Policies, NPS Cultural Management Guidelines and NPS Natural Resource Guidelines.




GMP Issues

Poor condition of the forests and resource management collaboration with local land managers




Structures and Landscapes Outside the Immediate Village Core Area

Importance

The land outside the village core is a mosaic of fields and forests that surround historic farms and churches with connections to the furnace. These include Bethesda Church, the Nathan Care, Thomas Lloyd, and John Church houses and the Woodlot, Brison, Manning, Harrison Lloyd,Tenant House 4, Boone and Nathan Care ruins. The Thomas Lloyd House has been rehabilitated by the CCC and the NPS to house staff. Some of the outbuildings for these farms have been removed.


The Boone, Nathan Care and John Church houses lie just outside the village along historic roads. The remaining farms lay further a field. At the eastern point of the park, Bethesda Church and cemetery served many of the furnace employees; however, its congregation moved to a new church after the national park was formed. The last congregant with rights to be buried in the cemetery was interred in the 1990s.
Throughout the woods there are numerous farmhouse ruins and charcoal hearths and colliers hut sites.


Current State and Related Trends

The Nathan Care and John Church houses are in good condition, having been rehabilitated for staff use in the 1970s. Bethesda Church and its carriage shed, also rehabilitated, are also in good condition. The Thomas Lloyd house is in poor condition., and no longer can support staff housing. The Woodlot, Brison, Manning, Harrison Lloyd, Tenant #4 and Boone house ruins are stable and in good condition.


Most of the fields around these houses and ruins have begun reversion to forests.


Potential Future Threats

Many of the archeological sites have been very stable and are in good condition because they are hidden by forest and sheltered by lack of interest.


As more and more people use the park for recreation, these sites are more often visited and will require more active monitoring and protection.
Deer browsing is increasingly a problem in these forests and has been a major determinant of what gets planted in the fields. They also have substantially altered the composition of the forest and have the potential of threatening the viability of it in the future. Invasive vegetation is becoming more of an issue, primarily along the edges of the fields.


Stakeholder Interest

Hopewell Big Woods partners are very interested in the issues surrounding deer and invasive species. ManyThey are actively managing the deer populations and have an aggressive invasive species program. They would like to manage these issues regionally.


The state park is very interested in the recreation potential of these areas in the park. They need to relieve the recreation pressure in some portions of their park and see these areas as having the potential for increased recreation.


Law and Policy Guidance

Pertinent federal laws and NPS policy guidance on archeology, wetlands, and forest and wildlife management as described in NPS Management Policies, NPS Cultural Management Guidelines and NPS Natural Resource Guidelines.




GMP Issues

Expanding recreation opportunities, protecting interpretive values and natural resources, ensuring baseline biodiversity, partnerships for recreation and resource protection, and regional trail system.





FUNDAMENTAL VALUES

ANALYSIS AND GUIDING PRINCIPLES

Views from the Village to the Surrounding Hilltops

Importance

Views from the village core go beyond park boundaries and are important to the desired visitor experience. These viewsheds provide an understanding of the rural/industrial operation that was Hopewell Furnace and the agricultural and forestry activities that were needed to support ironmaking.





Current State and Related Trends

The views that are important lie within state park land or private property surrounding the village and on the hillside to the east. Those within the state park are wooded and provide the desired experience. Those on private property pose no threat at the moment; however, they could easily change and present a significant visual intrusion in the center of the viewshed from the village. No long-term conservation mechanism exists on these properties at the moment.




Potential Future Threats

Currently, there is no threat. The state park periodically clear cuts portions of it land to raise operating funds. Development pressures in this part of Chester County are increasing significantly and could impact these properties at any time.




Law and Policy Guidance

Management of the forests would be done by private contractors or state park officials. NPS recommendations would be in accordance with NPS Management Policies and Natural Resource Guidelines.




GMP Issues

Interpretation of the broader stories, recreation and primary visitor experience.



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