Long Pond Ironworks dates back to 1766, when German ironmaster Peter Hasenclever acquired the land around Long Pond and several large nearby tracts, and forged ahead with big plans to create furnaces, forges, roads, dams, and a village for his workers. A furnace was built and put into operation, but investors soon dropped their backing, judging Hasenclever’s plans to be far too expensive and risky. The ironworks changed hands several times over the decades.
By the mid-1800s, industrialists Peter Cooper and Abram S. Hewitt had shown an interest, and they purchased the operation in 1853. They built two new, large furnaces and erected two 25-foot overshot waterwheels and supporting waterworks to operate them. Among its other strengths, iron from Long Pond was of a quality suitable to be used for gun barrels for the Union Army. Unfortunately, the demise of the ironworks was swift as it became apparent how much cheaper it was to forge iron in regions to the west, where Pennsylvania’s coal and the Great Lakes’ iron ore could more efficiently fuel and feed the furnaces. Long Pond’s furnaces were last lit in early 1882. Currently the site is in poor shape, but the Friends of Long Pond Ironworks are working toward restoration.
Rich and I visited the Ironworks as part of our day-long explorations of some of Northern New Jersey’s iron mining areas. We began by seeking out the exploratory pits and shafts associated with the Winston Mine on Monks Mountain, then headed to the Ironworks. After wandering among the ruins to get a sense of the scale and an appreciation for the masterful work of its builders, we took a long slow walk along some of the adjacent trails. Our final stop was the remains of the Patterson Mine, north and then east along an old carriage road from the Ironworks, and atop a wooded hill.