Lock Ridge Park
Lock Ridge Park,
located between Church and Franklin Streets is
open daily from dawn until dusk. Enjoy the
bluebells, festivals, trails, fishing and
The Lock Ridge
Furnace: Iron Ore, Iron Horses, and Ironmen
Iron transformed Alburtis from a sleepy farm
village into an industrial giant. The railroad,
the iron horse, steamed into town in 1864,
bringing together nearby raw materials needed
for ironmaking. By 1868 Lock Ridge Furnace lit
the skies, turning iron ore into the iron
essential for a growing America.
In the late 1800s the Lock Ridge Furnace plant
was a smelly, dirty, noisy inferno. Trains
loaded with anthracite coal to fuel the furnaces
roared up to the stockhouses. An endless stream
of rattling wagons hauled heavy loads of local
iron ore, as well as the local limestone used to
extract the iron from its ore.
Ironmen, including many Irish and German
immigrants, worked in twelve-hour shifts.
“Bottom men” shoved heavy wheelbarrows full of
iron ore, limestone, and anthracite coal onto
elevators. Above, “top men” waited to dump these
regional riches into Lock Ridge’s twin furnace
stacks. Nearby stoves heated air, and roaring
engines blew it into the furnaces. This fiery
blast made the furnaces hot enough to burn
Day and night Lock Ridge’s furnaces flamed,
separating iron from iron ore and shaping it
into bars. Four times a day, sweating “casters”
pulled the plug at the bottom of each furnace.
Wearing protective wooden shoes, casters guided
the red-hot melted iron into bar-shaped channels
in the casthouses. When the iron cooled, casters
swung crowbars to break the bars apart. Loaded
onto train cars, the bars left for market.
Then the iron industry began moving west.
Western Pennsylvania’s softer bituminous coal
could be made into coke--the best fuel for
ironmaking. Unable to compete with furnaces
nearer this new fuel, Lock Ridge closed in 1921.
Today, local preservation efforts have saved
this relic of industrial might for future
The Park is owned
and operated by Lehigh County. To reserve
a pavilion, please call 610-871-0281.