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Furnace Town A Ghost Town with a Future by Dick Cooper The ground is still damp from a late summer’s night rain as I walk under the canopy of 100-foot-tall trees. The sun cuts through the moist air, casting beams of light on balled-up pine needles that were caught in torrents rushing down to an old streambed. Swallowtails flit from f lower to f lower, and a nosy little skink stops dead in his tracks and turns his head to look up at me. Sensing possible danger, he darts off in the shadows, disappearing as quickly as he arrived. It is a quiet morning in the Pocomoke Forest north of Snow Hill in Worcester County. A whiff of wood smoke from the nearby blacksmith’s forge and the rhy thmic clang of his hammer on red-hot iron are reminders that 175 years ago this peaceful valley was a thundering, fire-belching industrial complex that devoured everything around it, shrouding the region in thick smoke for nine months out of the year. Its glow could be seen for miles, haunting the night sky. Welcome to Furnace Town, the outdoor museum dedicated to the history of the Nassawango Iron Fur-

The little skink was eyeing me from the walkway. nace and its brief, but important, impact on the southern DelMarVa. The museum, located off Route 12 between Salisbury and Snow Hill, comprises a collection of historic buildings that have been moved to the site over the years. It creates a village showcasing the arts and crafts and everyday life in the first half of the 19th century. The blacksmith’s shop, the woodworker’s shop, the weaver, the spinner and the gardener, and even the broom maker all have their special 27

March 2014 ttimes web magazine  
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