The fertile glades around the headwaters of the Stonycreek River attracted some of the earliest settlers - hard-working German farmers. As settlers followed the Stonycreek northward, support industries began to sprout in the early 19th century: gristmills, sawmills and woolen mills.

The discovery of "bog ore" led to the establishment of one of the region's earliest iron furnaces, Shade Furnace, in 1807-1808 along the banks of Shade Creek. Although isolated and entirely reliant upon Shade Creek and the Stonycreek River for the transportation of its iron, Shade Furnace operated until 1858 and evolved into a typical 19th-century iron plantation (a complete iron-working community) with a forge, foundry, gristmill, and blacksmith shop. Early histories also make reference to two other iron furnaces, the "Old Jackson Iron Furnace" near present-day Quemahoning Lake and Rockingham Furnace two miles upstream from Shade Furnace on Shade Creek.

The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad changed The Stonycreek Corridor dramatically when it developed a branch line from Somerset to Johnstown that largely followed the Stonycreek River circa 1881. The B&O had been solicited by officials of Johnstown's Cambria Iron Company, who were dissatisfied with the Pennsylvania Railroad. Within 10 years, the PRR opened its own branch line into the down-river section or northern end of the corridor. These railroads effectively opened up the corridor to large-scale lumbering and coal mining.

For More History on early industry in The Stonycreek Corridor click here and go to page 19. (2.4mb)

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