BECKLEY FURNACE INDUSTRIAL MONUMENT
The Beckley Iron Furnace once produced iron for the manufacture of railroad car wheels. It is Connecticut's best preserved example of a technology that has long since vanished. The structure is part of the National Register of Historic Places.
Iron making had been a local industry that for 150 years shaped the formation of America. The Beckley blast furnace was built in 1847 and ceased operation in 1919. It produced iron primarily for the manufacture of railroad car wheels that gained a world wide reputation for their excellence and durability. The Furnace was a part of an industry that shaped both the cultural and ecological future of the entire region. The recently refurbished structure stands as the best preserved example of technology that has long since vanished. In 1946 Beckley Furnace was designated as a state park.
Join members of the Friends of Beckley Furnace each Saturday morning from 1000 a.m. until 100 p.m. from May through mid-October for a personal tour of the Furnace. Learn how iron was made by walking in the footsteps of the iron makers. Stand in the hearth where temperatures reached nearly 3,000 degrees. Visit the only remaining turbine used to power a blast furnace.
The Beckley Furnace Industrial Monument is featured in a publication by Ed Kirby entitled Echoes of Iron in Connecticuts Northwest Corner. The publication is for sale and may be purchased at the DEP Bookstore or from the Sharon Historical Society.
Located in East Canaan, Connecticut, the site was established around 1847 as a major producer of pig iron. The furnace operated until 1919 and produced high-quality Salisbury Iron.
In its prime years from 1858 to 1865, it employed over four hundred men who worked day and night shifts. After ceasing operations in the early twentieth century due to declining demand for local iron ore resources, it fell into disrepair.
The state acquired this industrial monument's property during the Great Depression era with plans for preservation but no immediate action took place. It wasn't until late-1946 that restoration efforts began under State Archaeologist John O'Neill's supervision.
It became an official state park on July 1st, 1966 after extensive renovation work completed by volunteers led by Edward Kirby - a historian specializing in regional industry history.
On April 29th, 1992 further recognition came when National Park Service added Beckley Furnace Industrial Monument onto their list of Historic Places acknowledging its significance within American industrial heritage.
Today visitors can explore exhibits detailing nineteenth-century foundry practices while guided tours provide insight into life at Beckley Furnace throughout different periods since inception till closure date.
Connecticut has made state parks, forests, trails, historic sites and beaches more accessible to our residents so they can enjoy the many attractions and beauty they offer. Under the Passport to the Parks program, parking fees are now eliminated at Connecticut State Parks for those with Connecticut registered vehicles. You can view the CONNECTICUT PASSPORT TO THE PARKS
web page to learn more.