The Lock Ridge Furnace Museum is located within Lock Ridge Park and comprises the remains of the Lock Ridge Iron Works, which first operated on this site in 1868. The company was owned by David Thomas, the man who set up the initial anthracite iron furnaces in the 1830s.
Over the years the site expanded and structures were added and rebuilt. The Lock Ridge Iron Works finally went out of business in 1921, and it is said that it was the last anthracite iron furnace in the world.
Over the next few decades, the ironworks were stripped of their metal parts, and the rail line that serviced this area was removed. Fortunately, the masonry portions of the furnaces remain, and, in 1976, this area was turned into a 60-acre park.
Today, the main draw of the park for visitors is the chance to walk around the old structures from the ironworks. While there are plenty of places in PA where you might find one or two old iron furnaces, I can’t recall anywhere else that has such a large concentration of structures as this site does.
While guided tours are offered periodically by the Lehigh County Historical Society, visitors are welcome to take a self-guided tour of the furnaces at any time.
There are two parking lots for the park, both of which are located very close to the furnace ruins. They can be found off of Church Street (Coordinates: 40.509833, -75.596694) and Franklin Street (40.507722, -75.596000) in Alburtis, Pennsylvania.
[Click here for information on how to use coordinates to find your destination.]
From both parking lots, head into the park along the paved paths and you’ll soon come to the ruins of Lock Ridge Furnace.
These ruins are scattered around a large grassy field with a paved path passing through them. Signs near the entrances show a map of the park and offer some very basic information about the landmarks and nearly 30 points of interest that you can find.
That being said, I do wish there was more information about the structures here, as I would have liked to have learned even more as I was walking around the site. However, walking around this area is a ton of fun.
There really is a lot to see here, and if you are a photographer, plan to spend a good deal of time wandering amongst the structures looking for photos.
There is one large building that has been somewhat restored on the grounds. It was closed during my visit, and from peering in the windows, it doesn’t appear there is a ton to see in this space, but I would assume it would be open during guided tours.
In addition to wandering through the ruins, take a few minutes to walk the three-quarter-mile paved loop around the park. This offers some beautiful scenery, especially around Swabia Creek, as well as the chance to see a large pile of slag from the furnace.
It’s really amazing to me that such a historic and unique park is so far off the beaten path as the chance to walk amongst ruins like this is truly rare, especially in a manicured park setting.
If you enjoy exploring abandoned places, Lock Ridge Park in Alburtis, PA is definitely a spot you won’t want to miss.