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Union Furnace Nature Preserve
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Welcome to Union Furnace Nature Preserve.  This 95-acre nature preserve located in Union Township was named after the colonial ironworks that flourished here from 1742-1781.  It has also been listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  William Allen and Joseph Turner, of Philadelphia, purchased over 10,000 acres of land in the area for the purpose of creating several ironworks.  From this, two separate enterprises were established: one called Union Forge in High Bridge, and the other Union Furnace on this site.  Both produced shoes for farm animals, farm implements, and military hardware during the Revolutionary War.  Allen and Turner, both Loyalists, fled during the war and the ironworks were taken over by Robert Taylor, who founded the Taylor-Wharton Foundry.  When Taylor-Wharton ceased operating, it was the second oldest business in North America.  While operations continued at Union Forge, the 808-acre Union Furnace was abandoned and later sold by William Allen’s grandson to Hugh Exton for $26,666 in 1811.  It then became known as Union Farm, and included a gristmill.  The farm met its final fate in the late 1950s when Spruce Run Reservoir was constructed.  The ruins of the furnace are now submerged under the reservoir. 


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Photographs by Valerie Lykes