Historical Marker RH Side of Stack Front of Furnace Looking up the Stack
Historical Marker RH Side of Stack Front of Furnace Looking Up the Stack
RH View Engine House Closeup of Tuyere Rear View
RH View Engine House Closeup of Tuyere Rear View


The furnace is in excellent condition, the most significant element being the charging bridge. Unfortunately, one of the structural supports for the bridge has cracked, making the crossing unfeasible. It would be nice if this condition could be repaired, permitting access to the top of the stack. It is not clear who has maintained the site, but the area is very clean, maintained, and much of the furnace remains intact.

The foundation pit for the engine house is located to the right of the furnace. The right hand tuyere still has the brickwork in place, including the round access hole for the blast pipe. The cupola remains intact, and the view up the stack shows that the wooden covering at the top is protecting the inner stack from damage.

First Visited: 3Q 2002


Start of Operation: 1845

Blowout: 1856

Daily Tonnage: 1,500 tons per year - best actual output was 1,000 tons.

Built By: Robert Barber and Packer

Stack: 32 feet w/9 foot bosh

Blast: Cold

Type: Charcoal

The furnace was built by W.S. Packer & Company, but they soon ran into financial problems and sold out to David Richey. He apparently owned the site for a limited time, and sold the property to Samuel Wilson. The Wilson's were a primary player in the region in terms of materials - they must of owned extensive property in the area. Mr. Wilson operated the furnace until 1857.

The furnace was originally named "Highland" furnace after Alexander McNaughton, who prided himself on being a highlander. However, owing to the strong accent, the name sounded like "Hieland", which was adapted over time to "Helen".


Located just north of Clarion, PA on the route to Cook Forest State Park. Take Rt 68 north from Interstate 80 into Clarion. At the main intersection of town (you will pass a small park on the left), notice the unique structure in the following picture - it was originally a prison, now abandoned. Continue straight ahead and follow the signs to Cook Forest State Park. You will pass a stone church on the RH side of the road, start looking for the historical marker on the left - about 1/2 or 3/4 miles up the road.

Clarion Prison
Clarion Prison

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