The Iron Garden

About The Iron Garden

In 2014, Rivers of Steel partnered with the Penn State Master Gardener Program of Allegheny County to develop a comprehensive plant survey of the lands in and around the Carrie Furnaces in Rankin, PA.  The Master Gardeners set out to learn more about the succession of native, aggressive, and/or invasive plant species that are surviving, and even thriving, in these disturbed soils.  This collaborative project created ten cast-iron interpretive plaques placed along a portion of the Carrie Furnaces newly deemed the Iron Garden Walk. The plaques guide visitors through the surrounding fields and structures, providing a narrative of the wild gardens that share the former industrial landscape of the Carrie Furnaces. These plaques are designed to allow visitors to take rubbings and include botanical illustrations of the local plant community, highlighting features such as bark, fruit, and leaf form for easy identification.  The images are paired with narratives on plant succession inclusive of soil conditions, environmental factors, and the potential for future plant communities.

Funding for the public iron pour and casting of the plaques was generously provided through Rivers of Steel, The National Park Service, and The Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.  Funding for the installation was secured with a Seed Grant from The Sprout Fund, and a grant from Awesome Pittsburgh. The project was led by Addy Smith-Reiman.


Tour the Iron Garden

About the Tour

Tour the Iron Garden with Botanist Ann Johnson to discover a dense variety of ecological growth at the Carrie Furnaces! Tours focus on the diverse, successional plant communities on site and how human history shapes our urban environments. Groups large and small can be accommodated. Dr. Anna Johnson is an ecological researcher at the University of Pittsburgh with a focus on urban ecologies.

Private tours and special event opportunities contact Stacy Drane or call 412-464-4020 ext. 32 for information.


Cost: $19.00
Length: 1.5 hour tour
6.4.17, 11:00a – 12:30p
7.15.17, 11:00a – 12:30p
8.12.17, 11:00a – 12:30p
9.10.17, 11:00a – 12:30p
Age: 18 and Up

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