Practical Preservation Podcast Featuring Michael Emery of Cornwall Iron Furnace

Mike Emery, site administrator of Cornwall Iron Furnace in Cornwall (Lebanon County), PA – joined the Practical Preservation Podcast to discuss the museum’s history and current operations. We covered multiple topics, including:

  • Mike’s own deep roots – growing up in Pennsylvania, as well as working in several local museum positions in Pennsylvania – which inspired a lifelong love and appreciation for his own family’s and the commonwealth’s history
  • The history of Cornwall Iron Furnace and its special significance as the only surviving intact charcoal cold blast furnace in the Western Hemisphere
  • The furnace’s essential contribution to the Continental Cause in the Revolutionary War via artillery and other military ironware
  • The furnace’s association with indentured servants and enslaved persons – including a famous local named “Governor Dick – without whom such a vast operation could not run
  • The furnace’s link to the Coleman family, one of the most prominent and well-known families of Lebanon (as well as Lancaster) County
  • Challenges for the museum (limited funding and budget as well as staff, and limitations due to COVID-19) and challenges to preservation in general, including the rise of shows popularizing “harvesting” historic fabric from old buildings, particularly in our region where more and more buildings are lost to so-called “Progress”
  • The importance of supporting historical sites and buildings, particularly during these challenging times, and how “Preservation is Progress”








General contact information

Mike suggests some ways that interested people can support Cornwall Iron Furnace (or any other historical organization of personal interest), including volunteering or becoming a member.

You may also support this and other sites by tuning into online/virtual programming and tours (here and here for Cornwall Iron Furnace specifically).

Finally, if you’d like to see the outside of the Cornwall Iron Furnace complex’s buildings and Gothic Revival Architectural Styles, the nearby miner’s villages, and other natural and historical resources Lebanon County has to offer, take advantage of a nice day and drive around for your own “self-guided” tour!



2 thoughts on “Practical Preservation Podcast Featuring Michael Emery of Cornwall Iron Furnace”

  1. Excellent interview. Practical and wise insights, especially how preservation is progress! Well done and thanks!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.