Welcome to the Hasenclever Iron Trail. This yellow blazed trail follows, for the most part, a road built over 230 years ago between the ironworks here at Long Pond and those at Ringwood Manor five miles away. Ironmaster Peter Hasenclever was running operations at both sites. He started building Long Pond in 1766, and it is believed the road you will be following was built shortly thereafter. It was in existence by the 1770s, as it is shown on maps drawn by Robert Erskine.
This historic interpretive trail has 14 numbered stops along its length, with informative signs at most of the stops. A brochure with map is available at the Long Pond Visitors Center and Ringwood Manor. As you walk the trail, imagine what it would have been like 200 years ago. Today the route of the old road is quiet and scenic. When the ironworks operated it would have been a more active road, with people traveling by foot and horseback between the two ironworks and Peter's Mine. The area the trail covers would have had more activity going on around it, with farms, charcoal making and mining operations that are now extinct.
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This drawing is of a typical charcoal iron furnace like the one now in ruins in front of you, built by Peter Hasenclever in 1766. In the drawing, the area where the two men are working below is called the casting house. The casting house here was on the foundation remains to the left. The bellows in the lower center of the drawing were on the opposite side of the furnace remains from where you are, and the waterwheel was to the right of the furnace remains. The elevated walkway in the drawing, the charging bridge, came from the hill behind the furnace to the top of the 25 foot high stack. The ingredients for making iron - iron ore, charcoal and limestone - were carted over the bridge and fed into the top of the furnace. Inside the furnace, the temperature was raised by forced air from bellows. These operated off a cam shaft turned by a waterwheel. The water turning the wheel here came down a raceway that began up the Wanaque River. When the ore melted enough to do a casting, the molten iron was tapped from the furnace, and it flowed into a prepared sand bed, usually into a mold pattern as in the drawing. This pattern reminded the workers of a mother pig feeding her young - hence the term "pig iron". The cast iron was then taken to a forge or foundry and worked further into wrought iron products.