Brady's Bend Furnaces, Armstrong County, Pennsylvania
aaka Great Western Iron Works
Brady's Bend (aka Great Western Iron Works) - On Kaylor Creek (aka Sugar Creek), Brady's Bend Township. Was at one time one of the largest if not the largest of the iron industries plants in the 19th century. (Dunbar, in Fayette, may have been larger[rp]). At one time there were four furnaces, along with forges and rolling mills. The first was built in 1840 by Philander Raymond. Very large for those days it was a hot blast coke furnace with a 14 foot bosh and was 50 feet high. #2, in 1841, was of the same dimensions and the capacities were 100 tons a
week. The 14 foot bosh was too large however, 12 being the maximum for coke in those days. #3, in 1843, reverted to an 11 foot
bosh, was 43 feet high and had a capacity of 100 tons per week. #4, built in 1846, was a hot blast charcoal furnace with same dimensions as #3 with a capacity of 60 tons per week. The remains of only two of the furnaces exist. We photographed this site.(P)(V)(rp-1978, rp,ph-2004)
From East Brady cross the bridge over the Allegheny River on PA68. From the west end of the bridge 40º 59.471'N - 79º 36.879W' go about a mile and look for a tennis court and ballfield on the left. This is the Sean Bailey Memorial Ball Park. The furnaces are between the tennis court and the ball field, back in the woods and against the hillside. You can turn into the parking lot of a shirt factory just beyond the ball park and drive around to the location of the furnaces.
The West furnace GPS Coordinates are 40º 59,900'N - 79º 37.519'W. 30 feet below the furnace.
It has a fairly good west side and opening, but the front wall is fallen down.
The East furnace GPS coordinates are 40º 59.911'N - 79º 37.514'W. 40 feet below the furnace. (P)(V)(rrp 2004).
In August 2004 we saw about 10-12 rows of stone showing on the front, but the sides were hard to make out. They were surrounded with a chain link fence and barbed wire, and were in heavy underbrush.
Don Whitacre (dw) has taken more recent photos with less vegetation showing, and also has provided a map showing the location of the furnaces as well as the slag piles existing to the east down the road toward East Brady. Some of Don's photos and tyhe map are shown below.
Sign on south side of PA68
near Brady\s Bend Furnaces
Mao showing rady's Bend Furnaces and slag piles to east toward East Brady (dw)
Brady's Bend West Furnace - August 2004
Brady's Bend East Furnace - August 2004
Brady;s Bend West Furnace (dw)
West Furnace Opening (dw)
Brady's Bend East Furnace (dw)
Slag pile from Brady's Bend Furnaces (dw)
Brady's end Furnaces Special Sources:
A Guide to the Old Stone Blast Furnaces of Western Pennsylvania, Myron B. Sharp and William H. Thomas (s&t)
Pat & Michael Hom. San Diego, California (ph)
Don Whitacre (dw)
Copyright © Richard Parks, Last updated March 27, 2010