It was 1718, just a little over 30 years after William Penn set foot in America to found his colony. Rich deposits of iron and vast never ending forests had just begun powering development at Pine Forge, Pennsylvania’s and the nation’s, first ironworks located on the banks of fast moving Manatawny Creek. Soon the area was teeming with iron furnaces pouring huge quantities of molten iron for homes and industry. The first Franklin stove was cast in 1742. In 1759, the Swedish Reverend Acrelius noted that Eastern Pennsylvania’s ironworks were the most advanced in all of the American colonies. By 1771, eastern Pennsylvania was pouring 15% of the world’s iron, more than all of Great Britain was smelting at the time.
By the time the American Revolution began raging and Americans were ready to get out from under their British masters, the ironmasters of Pennsylvania’s original iron region were able to figure out how to produce cannons and armaments for General George Washington, even though they had previously made no weapons of war. As the war raged on, the ironmasters became militia leaders and officers in the Continental Army, while their furnaces continued to produce iron goods.
Soon, Boyertown began emerging as a manufacturing center, bustling with everything from cigars produced from local tobacco, carriages and other vehicles used on local farms, caskets that became world renown, and some of the first car and truck bodies manufactured in America, by businesses housed in the beautiful Victorian buildings that still stand today.
As the centuries passed, Boyertown evolved into the impeccably preserved, walkable, safe, quaint, charming place you see today. As the gateway to one of America’s most historic areas, you can learn the intriguing story of how the first iron forge in the New World on Manatawny Creek, evolved into the entire railroading and industrial heritage of southeastern Pennsylvania, and ultimately gave birth to the American Industrial Revolution that came to power the entire eastern portion of the United States to economic prosperity.