Alburtis in Lehigh County, Pennsylvania — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
From Production to Preservation
Lock Ridge Iron Furnace
After the last cast
After Lock Ridge’s last cast in 1921, the company shuttered the complex, and it sat abandoned for many years. Historic preservation was not yet a major concern, and few people thought of the complex as a place worthy of protection. The Butz Family, who had lived near the furnace, purchased the property and sold the trains and machinery. The tall furnace stacks were melted down and carried away, and even some of the stone work and bricks were sold. The family planned to clear the land to make room for a housing development or nursing home.
A Museum and a Park
That is when Jean Caroline Butz Stoneback, a member of the family, began advocating for the site’s preservation. She convinced the Leigh County commissioners that the furnace complex and surrounding grounds had both historical significance and natural beauty. The result was that in 1976 Lock Ridge became a county park and work began on the development of a museum within the remaining, now-stabilized masonry structures. Many of the museum’s artifacts came from Bethlehem Steel and people with personal collections of dippers, strainers, levels, handcar pushers, bake oven doors, casting room sandals and other items related to anthracite iron production.
Today, the Lehigh County Historical Society operates the museum and displays
In 1981, Lock Ridge Furnace Complex was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
(Inscription next to the image in the upper right)
“When I was a little girl, I played down here when it was abandoned. We played through the whole furnace.”
Jean Caroline Butz Stoneback, advocate for Lock Ridge’s preservation and longtime tour guide.
(Inscription next to the image in the lower right)
Following the last cast, Lock Ridge was abandoned and scrapped. Only the foresight of a concerned citizen saved the site from total destruction.
(Collection of the Lehigh County Historical Society)
Erected by William B. Butz Memorial Fund.
Location. 40° 30.505′ N, 75° 35.69′ W. Marker is in Alburtis, Pennsylvania, in Lehigh County. Marker is on Church Street. Touch for map. The marker is located in the Lock Ridge Furnace Museum-Leigh County Parks. Marker is in this post office area: Alburtis PA 18011, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 6 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Lock Ridge Furnace (within shouting distance of this marker); Servicing the Furnace Casting Pigs (about 500 feet away); Lock Ridge Iron Furnace (approx. 0.2 miles away); The Velodrome Story (approx. 2.8 miles away); Hereford Furnace (approx. 4.6 miles away); Jasper Park Indian (approx. 5 miles away); Indian Jasper Quarries (approx. 5.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Alburtis.
Categories. • Industry & Commerce •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on July 9, 2015, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland. This page has been viewed 176 times since then and 19 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. submitted on July 9, 2015, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.