The City of Struthers is not known for much today, however, back in the day it was a booming city that was one of the leading steel distributors in the United States. The start of this areas steel success was The Hopewell Furnace. The entire city was built around this small furnace in the woods. Today, sadly, nature has taken over the furnace and there is not much left to see. However, the town still pays homage to its humble beginnings by naming a memorial after it that holds a time capsule. Another way Struthers memorializes the furnace was by naming their high school yearbook after it. Bruce Springsteen also memorialized this place by writing a song titled Youngstown, that is about the families working at the mills. The Hopewell Furnace is a great place to visit, if you're up for a hike, to see where the City of Struthers all began.
Backstory and Context
Daniel Heaton and his brother James first came to the area now known as Yellow Creek in 1803 with the intentions of building a furnace. They recognized all the ingredients to make iron in the area and the water from streams could provide the blast. They built this furnace right below Lake Hamilton and it started operation sometime around 1803-1804. Hopewell produced around 2-3 tons of metal each day. In 1807 Daniel, now Dan Eaton, decided to sell Hopewell Furnace to John Struthers, Robert Montgomery and David Clendenin. These partners started making new furnaces all over Mahoning County.
Hopewell hit a snag in 1812 during the war. They lost many workers who left to go fight the war. The steel industry kept growing around the Hopewell Furnace, new and better mills were popping up in the area. It is estimated that they shut down the smaller furnaces in 1830. The Hopewell Furnace was instrumental in the North American steel industry as well as the founding of the City of Struthers. It is also suspected that Hopewell was one of the first blast furnaces in North America.
The Hopewell Furnace has sat abandoned for almost 200 years however because it was the creation of Struthers every resident remembers it. It is a chore to get to the furnace as you have to hike across a river and up a hill to find it. But once you get there you won't regret it. Little glass like slag pieces litter the floor all around the furnace left over from when it was used. Many people who make the hike take these as a souvenir of their journey. In 2003 the Hopewell Furnace was honored by the Ohio Historical Society as a significant site of early Ohio industry. Even though this birth of the Ohio steel industry remains forgotten to most, the City of Struthers will forever remember all that Hopewell has done for them.
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, RTRUBE54. Growing Up in Working Class Youngstown — Hopewell Furnace, bobonbooks.com. April 21st 2018. Accessed April 30th 2020. https://bobonbooks.com/2018/04/21/growing-up-in-working-class-youngstown-hopewell-furnace/.
Struthers Historical Society
Struthers Historical Society