• 66°

Furnace Town: Step back in time with living history exhibit near Snow Hill, Md.

By Wayne Hinshaw
whinshaw@salisburypost.com
A visit to Furnace Town near Snow Hill, Md., is like a step back to the mid-1800s.
Snow Hill was chartered in 1686. It is now the county seat of Worcester County, with 2,500 residents. With its historic structures and five art galleries, it has been called the “The Attic of Worcester County.”
From 1828 until 1850, the Nassawango Iron Furnace operated gathering bog ore from the Nassawango swamp. Clam and oyster shells were moved up the Pocomoke River from the Chesapeake Bay and charcoal was made in the Pocomoke Forest.
Adding these materials to a 3,000 degree-furnace produced iron that was shipped to cities like Baltimore, Philadelphia and New York.
The Maryland Iron Company built a company town called Nescongo or Nasseongo. Some 300 peopled live in the small town, raising families, running the iron furnace and worshipping. The town had blacksmiths, broom makers, bakers, cobblers, and weavers. Each family had a garden to grow their own food.
In 1850, the company went bankrupt, and the 7,000 acres with beds of iron ore, the grist mill, barns, stores, and other buildings were offered for sale. The residents moved away for other jobs and the buildings slowly decayed away, thus ending the town.
In the 1960s, the Worcester County Historical Society became interested in saving their history. In 1982, Furnace Town Foundation was formed to recreate the village as a living museum.
Much like Rowan County’s Gold Hill village, Furnace Town’s restorers set about moving structures and buildings from the 1800s to the site to recreate a living museum. The brick iron furnace is the only original structure that has survived the 150 years. The wooden ramp to the top of the furnace has been replaced.
An old Methodist church dating 1874 was moved to the village. The Old Nazareth Church which was also a Methodist church, which replaced the Shingled Meeting House.
The woodworker’s shop houses the tool collection of German master craftsman Ernest Glaser.
The weave shop has two looms making rugs and household items.
There is a broom house where brooms are made.
There is a print shop with presses for printing.
The kitchen garden grows vegetables and herbs that were popular in the 1800s.
All of the historic structures are unique, with costumed workers demonstrating how life was in Furnace Town.

Comments

Comments closed.

Elections

Local Democrats call to ‘turn the state blue’ during virtual office reopening

Education

Catawba gets high marks in U.S. News and World rankings for fifth year

Business

China Grove soap store sets sights on expansion into Kannapolis

News

Charlotte, UNC game canceled after 49ers place players in quarantine

Crime

Blotter: Sept. 18

Coronavirus

County sees ninth COVID-19 death this week, more than 30 cases reported

BREAKING NEWS

Gov. Cooper announces schools can move K-5 to plan A; school board vote needed locally

Local

Wet weather brings crashes, traffic to standstill on interstate

Crime

Salisbury man victim of Facebook scam, duped out of $2,000

Crime

Two charged after fight outside Salisbury home

Education

Rowan-Salisbury Schools ships out thousands of old devices for refurbishing

Education

Caught in the infodemic: NC school policies frustrated by scientific challenges

East Spencer

East Spencer to hold community day, provide free food, supplies

Education

Shoutouts

Landis

Landis officials provide plan for COVID-19 funds, discuss town’s financial position

Education

Blattner brought technology into schools before it was cool

Education

State has slight decline in SAT scores

Local

New environmental specialists begin work on backlog soil evaluations

Local

Friends, colleagues say Seay left his mark on Rowan judicial system

Elections

Rep. Howard says ‘still work to be done’ as she seeks 17th term in House

Nation/World

Trump disputes health officials, sees mass vaccinations soon

Nation/World

‘Nothing left in the bucket’: Wildfire resources run thin

Nation/World

At least 1 dead, hundreds rescued after Hurricane Sally

Crime

Blotter: Sheriff’s Office seeking information in shootout