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 10:00 a.m. until 1:00 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 Connecticut’s Northwest Corner (Including a Guide to the Iron Heritage Trail). The publication is for sale and may be purchased at the DEP Bookstore or from the Sharon Historical Society.
Beckley is a State Park
it’s also a park, and there are definitely park-like aspects to the place.
There are, for example, four picnic tables — and not so close to each other that one feels one is in a cafeteria. Here’s one at the top of the dam:
There are two picnic tables in front of the furnace itself, in the area that once was the casting shed, and another on the lawn overlooking the new turbine house.
This section of the Blackberry River is also popular with anglers. Frequently there are furnace site tours going on at the same time that people are actively fishing in the Blackberry just a few feet away.