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MARKER DATABASE
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Union Township in Berks County, Pennsylvania — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Charcoal Pit

Making furnace fuel

 
 
Charcoal Pit Marker image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., July 4, 2009
1. Charcoal Pit Marker
Inscription.  
Throughout surrounding hills are remains of hundreds of pits such as this one in front of you. Workers, or colliers, tended these pits to transform wood into charcoal — a pure carbon fuel.

Colliers ignited stacked wood covered with leaves and dirt to begin making charcoal. It took ten days to two weeks for wood to “come to foot” or char completely. Around the clock, colliers kept a watchful eye on smoldering pits to prevent an open flame from igniting and ruining the charcoal. Hopewell's best charcoal was made by gradually charring chestnut, oak, and hickory wood.

Master colliers and their helpers made charcoal during spring, summer, and fall. Seldom seen here, they lived as nomads in primitive, cone-shaped huts. By centralizing their homesites, two or three charcoal workers could tend up to nine charcoal pits at a time.
 
Erected by National Park Service.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Horticulture & ForestryIndustry & CommerceMan-Made FeaturesNatural Resources.
 
Location.
Charcoal Pit and Marker image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., July 4, 2009
2. Charcoal Pit and Marker
Click or scan to see
this page online
40° 12.326′ N, 75° 46.517′ W. Marker is in Union Township, Pennsylvania, in Berks County. Marker can be reached from Mark Bird Lane. Marker is next to the charcoal pit, about 50 feet west of the charcoal kilns ruins on the grounds of Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site off Shed Road (Pennsylvania Route 345). Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 50 Mark Bird Ln, Elverson PA 19520, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 4 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Charcoal Kilns (a few steps from this marker); Anthracite Furnace (within shouting distance of this marker); Cooling Shed (within shouting distance of this marker); Headraces (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Ironmaster's Garden (about 500 feet away); Warwick Furnace (approx. 3.1 miles away); Colonel Thomas Bull (approx. 3.9 miles away); Swedish Pioneers (approx. 4.1 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Union Township.
 
Also see . . .  Hopewell Furnace. (Submitted on November 1, 2009, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
 
Marker Photos Showing Charcoal Making Process image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., July 4, 2009
3. Marker Photos Showing Charcoal Making Process
Marker Photos Showing Charcoal Making Process image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., July 4, 2009
4. Marker Photos Showing Charcoal Making Process
Photo of Lafayette Houck on Charcoal Pit Marker image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., July 4, 2009
5. Photo of Lafayette Houck on Charcoal Pit Marker
Seen at the entrance to a collier's hut, Houck was Hopewell Furnace's last collier.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on December 27, 2020. It was originally submitted on November 1, 2009, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania. This page has been viewed 984 times since then and 12 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on November 1, 2009, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.

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Apr. 23, 2021