Catoctin Furnace Historical Society Receives $40,000 in Grant Funding from the Rural Maryland Council

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The funding comes from the Maryland Agricultural Education and Rural Development Assistance Fund

THURMONT, Md., Jan. 27, 2022 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ -- The Catoctin Furnace Historical Society (CFHS) announces that it has received generous funding from the Rural Maryland Council to reconstruct the village smithy in Catoctin Furnace, where blacksmithing began with African American ironworkers and blacksmiths in 1776. Historical sources confirm the presence of a blacksmith shop on the main thoroughfare of the village, and in 1850, Jacob L. Wolf, aged 21, was the village blacksmith. Mr. Wolf likely apprenticed for several years, beginning with making nails. Research has revealed that Wolf's blacksmith shop made repairs for travelers as well as tools for local farmers.

The reconstructed smithy will be adjacent to the historic Miller House, one of the original 200+ year-old worker houses in Catoctin Furnace and to the newly opened Museum of the Ironworker. The blacksmith's shop will serve as a site for a hands-on learning and blacksmithing demonstrations and will also be utilized as a display space for some of the larger, disarticulated iron objects in the society's collection.

"The reconstruction of the blacksmithing shop will allow Catoctin Furnace to add blacksmithing to our educational and hands-on programming, including our successful 9-year-old leadership-focused "Heritage at Work" program, offered in partnership with Silver Oak Academy."

Elizabeth A. Comer, President, CFHS, Inc.

About the Catoctin Furnace Historical Society (CFHS)

CFHS commemorates, studies, interprets, and preserves the rich history of the early the American industrial village through the architecture, cultural traditions, and lifeways of the diverse workers. CHFS's newly opened Museum of the Ironworker is located at 12610 Catoctin Furnace Road, Thurmont, MD 21788. The museum explores the history of ironmaking and tells the stories of the families—black and white, enslaved and free-- who lived and worked in the village. It is open from 10am-2pm on weekends. Learn more at

About the Maryland Agricultural Education and Rural Development Assistance Fund and the Rural Maryland Council

The Maryland Agricultural Education and Rural Development Assistance Fund (MAERDAF) provides grants to rural-serving nonprofit organizations that promote statewide and regional planning, economic and community development, and agricultural and forestry education. Also eligible are rural community colleges that provide enhanced training and technical assistance to support agricultural and small businesses. The Fund's goal is to increase the overall capacity of rural-serving nonprofit organizations and community colleges to meet a multitude of rural development challenges and to help them establish new public/private partnerships for leveraging non-state sources of funding. The Rural Maryland Council (RMC) serves as the administrative agency in receiving the applications and disbursing the grants to the successful applicants.

Media Contact

Theresa Donnelly, Catoctin Furnace Historical Society, 443-629-8661,

SOURCE Catoctin Furnace Historical Society