About The Event
Rivers of Steel in partnership with the Penn State Master Gardener Program, Carbon Arts, and local Pittsburgh artisans created an Iron Garden Walk at the Carrie Furnaces National Historic Landmark in Rankin/Swissvale, PA.
This collaborative iron pour provided a first-hand look at the process and skills of casting molten iron into pattern molds. This same process produced the iron that built our nation and many of the world’s largest structures during Pittsburgh’s legacy era as “Workshop of the World.”
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.
Iron Garden tours of the site are led by Rivers of Steel and Master Gardener guides upon request.
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.
Funding for the event and 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 has been secured with a Seed Grant from The Sprout Fund, and a grant from Awesome Pittsburgh.