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“Great for kids!”

Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site
Ranked #1 of 6 things to do in Elverson
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed July 6, 2013 via mobile

I have to admit that I was very surprised by our visit to Hopewell Furnace. We live in the area and needed something to do with 5 and 7 year old boys (read: burn off energy). So, on a hot July day we decided to check out Hopewell Furnace.

The site is situated in a very pretty part of the PA countryside, and there weren't many people. We picked up the junior ranger scavenger hunt sheets at the Visitor Center and got started.

The site isn't huge, and it can be tough to imagine all of the activity that once took place. But, my kids really enjoyed it. I can't put my finger on why -- maybe it was because of the history, or the number of buildings you could go into, or the historical signs on the property that described the site...whatever it was, they enjoyed it despite the heat.

Overall, the site is another example of the National Park Service being one of America's greatest resources for families.

1  Thank VagabondESQ
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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"water wheel"
in 12 reviews
"visitor center"
in 18 reviews
"an iron"
in 4 reviews
"industrial revolution"
in 4 reviews
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"blacksmith shop"
in 4 reviews
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in 2 reviews
"apple picking"
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"beautiful landscape"
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"the barn"
in 5 reviews
"the national park service"
in 6 reviews
"step back in time"
in 5 reviews
"self guided"
in 6 reviews
"nice afternoon"
in 2 reviews
"walking shoes"
in 2 reviews
"historic place"
in 2 reviews
"great place to visit"
in 5 reviews
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110 - 114 of 136 reviews

Reviewed June 26, 2013

We visited Hopewell Furnace with no specific expectations. It is in the forested countryside away from the hustle and bustle of normal life. The Visitor's Center is of modest size but was manned by a highly knowledgeable and friendly female Ranger who appeared to us to be a very positive credit to Hopewell Furnace and the Park Service. We started with a movie which nicely put the sights we were to see in perspective. The furnace operation and its importance to our history was clearly made. We learned that those who worked there also lived there with their families in quarters provided by the owner . . . who had the BIG house! Initially there were also slave families but that ended there long before emancipation. There are open fields where they would have grown their food and kept their animals food plus lots of forest which was necessary for making the charcoal and other necessities to operate the iron foundery. When you visit Hopewell Furnace you will see the furnace and the means used to make the iron. Maybe you will be able to visualize a small community of workers and families all there to support the operation of the foundry. There are a number of buildings on the premises. Hopewell Furnace was one of the early ironi making facilities in America and a part of the beginning of the industrialization of America. The facility was founded in 1771 and went out of business in the 1880s. We were there on a bright and pleasant day (discounting heat and humidity) and it was both a pretty and educational experience. There are a few farm animals such as sheep and horses. We visit many historical sites and we thought this one was unique and well done by the National Park Service including the exceptional Ranger who really knows her stuff. We were pleasantly surprised by Hopewell Furnace. We also learned that the Park Service in reconstructing buildings will only do so with sufficient evidence of accuracy of each and every building etc. Thus, there is one foundation at Hopewell Furnace that remains nothing but a foundation because credible and sufficient evidence of the structure has not been found and so it will not be recreated. It is good to know that when one is at a National Historic Park that any reconstruction was done based on solid information and is not the result of someone's imagination. A visit to Hopewell Furnace is a good choice and the setting is attractive.

Thank Dalarna
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 25, 2013

We visited Hopewell on a Tuesday and the re-enactors were not on site. However, that didn't matter to us as we had no children with us. There are a number of buildings all with explanatory signage and several with audio push button commentary. There are also a number of farm animals on site, sheep, chickens, horses. The lady at the front desk in the visitor center was very delightful and gave us lots of tips for viewing the site. She invited us to come back and play, "Stump the Ranger" with our questions. We tried, but she did have answers and lots of explanation. This is exactly what one should encounter in a park ranger. It was interesting to see what 1700s and 1800s industrial production entailed. The park is free and the site is really nice and well maintained. It is accessible although the paths are gravel. It is also dog friendly as long as they are leashed.

Thank onlyleigh
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 8, 2013

My wife and I both love living history museums, and this falls into my top 10 list!! This historic place has it all - wonderful open fields and woods, a ton of history since 1771, and a chance to see 1800 era technology at work and at a friendly price - free!! It is located near French Creek State Park near Elverson PA. Although I'm from Oregon and we think we have the great scenery thing covered, there is nothing more beautiful than the woods and hills of Pennsylvania! This historic community and furnace is settled in a lush valley, with the original buildings and a working furnace. There are re-enactors who operated the furnace, made a mold and actually poured hot metal to make a casting. You can see an original water wheel, the blacksmith shop, and the original "big house" that is open for touring. There is lots of open space, perfect for a stroll or a simple hike. Note: there are some steep steps or, alternately, sloping but gravel paths. Strollers and wheelchairs seem possible but check in advance on this point. Highly recommended, and please make a donation!!

Thank Richard C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed May 28, 2013

I wish I could upload some of the amazing pictures we took here... the landscaping & scenery are just beautiful.
The site is dog-friendly, tho they ask that you not bring your dogs into the buildings. There is even a 'pooch post' outside the administration building!
The staff was friendly & very knowledgeable of the history of the site. There is a LOT to explore here, so take your time & enjoy. Go in, get the map & get the “Voices of Hopewell’ sheet. Several of the buildings have a voice box which gives you a little story to go along with what you are looking at. Listen & enjoy 
Site is open 0900 – 1700 so make sure you get there early, you will need at least 2 hours to see everything & this is if you move at a quick pace. We took our time, did some exploring, asked questions & chatted with the staff, we were there 3 & ½ hours!
There are some farm animals to pet as well, so bring hand sanitizer, esp. if you have kids. It is recommended you wash your hands after petting the farm animals but the bathrooms are not next to the animals.
Overall, this is a great trip for anyone who enjoys the outdoors, history or just walking outside. A def. must see in my book!

Thank Natrona
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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