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Effort made to preserve furnaces

Historical relics hidden amid ruin

July 19, 2019 Digital Media Exclusive

One is the blast furnaces before a small crew of volunteers led by Anthony Pezzuti began clearing trees and brush.

BRADYS BEND TWP, Armstrong County — The only surviving remnants of a hulking iron works that provided rails for tracks that preceded the Transcontinental Railway sit crumbling near a ballfield, awaiting the return of the disrespectful clutches of nature.

Huge stacked blocks and the fallen brick interior from two of four mighty blast furnaces at the former Great Western Iron Co., later the Bradys Bend Iron Co. protrude from the side of a hill near the ballpark and tennis court at the township building.

The fill that was poured into the top of the stacks when the plant closed in 1879 now forms a dirt slope that spews from the furnaces. Trees and brush had more than a century to grow atop the fill and in the surrounding ground, completely obscuring the precision-cut stone structures.

Anthony Pezzuti , township native and Navy veteran, said he and a small but dedicated group of volunteers formed six or seven years ago to preserve the furnace.

This is an excerpt — pick Sunday's Butler Eagle to read more about the group's efforts to preserve the furnace.