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Catoctin Furnace, Maryland facts for kids

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Catoctin Furnace is an unincorporated community located on Route 15 between Frederick and Thurmont in the northern part of Frederick County, Maryland, United States. It is the site of the Catoctin Furnace Historic District.


Catoctin Furnace (also known as Catoctin Iron Furnace) was constructed in 1774 by four brothers Thomas, Baker, Roger and James Johnson to produce pig iron from locally mined hematite. The village of Catoctin Furnace grew in the land around the iron furnace. Furnace workers lived in company-owned stone and log houses. During its most prosperous time, the village of Catoctin Furnace boasted three furnaces, a sawmill, a gristmill, a school, and eighty houses for workers all situated on 11,350 acres.

By 1903, operating a small iron furnace complex was nearly impossible due to techonological advances environmental restraints, and the furnace was shut down. After the furnace went out of business, many people from the community were forced to seek employment outside the tiny village. In 1923, the property again changed hands, and the families residing in the formerly company-owned houses were given the opportunity to purchase their own house.


In 1973, the Catoctin Furnace Historical Society, Inc. was formed by G. Eugene Anderson, Clement E. Gardiner, J. Franklin Mentzer, and Earl M. Shankle to “foster and promote the restoration of the Catoctin Furnace Historic District…and to maintain the same exclusively for educational and scientific purposes…to exhibit to coming generations our heritage of the past…” The Catoctin Furnace Historical Society, Inc., celebrates, studies, and preserves the rich history of this pre-revolutionary industrial village, including the architecture, cultural landscapes, lifeways, and foodways of the workers.

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