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Stone from Historic Structures Donated to Juniata College

(Posted May 6, 2002)

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- Pennsylvania fieldstone from two historic structures, Rockhill Furnace and the Cromwell Mill, will be donated to Juniata College for use in constructing stone walls at several key campus locations.

Workers from the college's facilities services will collect the stone starting at 10 a.m. May 3 at two sites. The stone from Cromwell Mill is about ½ mile south on Route 522 in Orbisonia. The stone from Rockwell Furnace is on the south side of Route 522. Both historic structures had to be removed to accommodate a Pennsylvania Department of Transportation road-widening project.

"Using stone from these key historic structures can symbolically tie Juniata College to the historical legacy of the Juniata Valley," says Thomas R. Kepple, president of Juniata College.

The stone is being donated to the college by Joseph and Margaret Forrest of Trappe, Pa. in Montgomery County. The Forrests are the owners of both the mill and the furnace.

According to Paul Heberling, president of Heberling Associates, a Huntingdon archeological consulting firm, both structures were key components in the industrial development of the Juniata Valley. Rockhill Furnace was built about 1820-1830 and was the third or fourth iron furnace built in the Juniata Valley.

"By the 1850s, Juniata iron was the most sought-after iron in the world," Heberling explains. "The area's iron furnaces are integral elements in the industrial development of central Pennsylvania. The Pennsylvania Railroad routes went through the Juniata Valley to serve the iron industry."
Cromwell Mill was built by Thomas Cromwell, one of the first settlers of Orbisonia. The grist mill, which was built in the late 1820s, operated throughout most of the 19th century.

Stone from the two structures will be used to construct a wall in front of the college's Enrollment Center along Moore Street, and for walls behind several college offices along Moore Street.

"I makes me feel really proud that the stone from these buildings will be preserved in some way," says Margaret Forrest. The stone, which weighs about 300 tons, has an estimated value of about $15,000.

Contact John Wall at wallj@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3132 for more information.