The hit movie The Avengers has returned the superhero character Iron Man to the limelight.
This summer, check out the home of one of the original iron men.
Roland Curtins 1830 mansion, the cornerstone of historic Curtin Village in Boggs Township, is open for guided weekend tours until Oct. 28. Over the span of 40 minutes to an hour, visitors can inspect the elegant Federal-style home furnished in period antiques a glimpse back to the lives of the ironmaster and his family and the days when Eagle Ironworks cranked out pig iron for Eastern markets.
Today, the former iron plantation north of Milesburg is a state historical site operated by the Roland Curtin Foundation. From 1810 to 1921, it was a thriving community where more than 150 people lived.
Iron production began a decade after the site was settled. The Curtin estate comprised 30,000 acres, the village and farms occupying about a 10th of the land. Forests used for lumber and charcoal carpeted the rest.
Wagons pulled iron ore that was mined, washed and crushed at nearby open pit mines to the Eagle Ironworks Pleasant Furnace. Twice a day, workers poured molten iron into molds. Most of the product went to the plantation forge to be converted into wrought iron, some of which wound up as local sheets, bars and wire.
Initially brought to markets by wagon, the iron later floated on boats down Bald Eagle Creek to the Susquehanna River. Canal boats hauled iron for 17 years until 1865, when railroad service linked the village to Bellefonte. Trains then did the job.
Tours start at the mansion, which has 10 fireplaces, all with distinctive mantles. Some of the furniture belonged to the Curtins; relatives donated other pieces.
Next comes the furnace, a water-wheel-powered cold blast operation, eventually the last of its kind in the country.
Afterward, visitors can explore the workers village. A true company town, the self-sufficient plantation included a school, shops, two churches and a mill, employing carpenters, blacksmiths, harness makers, drivers, craftsmen, a miller, seamstresses, and household help for the mansion.
Roland Curtins son, Andrew Curtin, a personal friend of Abraham Lincoln, became the states first Republican governor and a U.S. congressman. Guide John Romani leads tours from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and noon to 4 p.m. Sunday. Last tours start at 3 p.m. Tickets cost $4 for adults, $1 for children. For more information, visit www. ? curtinvillage.com ? or call 355-4071.