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Historic Collier’s Log House to be Dedicated in Memory of Community Leader Clem Gardiner

(4/25) The Catoctin Furnace Historical Society, Inc. will host a dedication ceremony on Saturday, May 10, 2014 at 1 p.m. to honor the community service of Clement Edward (Clem) Gardiner III, a founding member of the society. Mr. Gardiner was a tireless advocate for historical preservation in the area, and helped secure funds for restoration of the c. 1810 Collier’s log house in the village of Catoctin Furnace. The ceremony will open with remarks from CFHS President Chris Gardiner, son of Clem Gardiner, and CFHS Secretary Elizabeth Comer. A plaque will then be unveiled. Light refreshments will be available.

In 1774, the Catoctin Furnace was built by four brothers in order to produce iron from the rich deposits of hematite found in the nearby mountains. The iron furnace at Catoctin played a pivotal role during the industrial revolution in the young United States. Cannonballs fired during the battle of Yorktown were made at the furnace. The furnace industry supported a thriving community, and company houses were established alongside the furnace stack. Throughout the nineteenth century, the furnace produced iron for household and industrial products. After more than 100 years of operation, the Catoctin Furnace ceased production in 1903.

In 1973, the Catoctin Furnace Historical Society, Inc. was formed by G. Eugene Anderson, Clement E. Gardiner, J. Franklin Mentzer, and Earl M. Shankle to “foster and promote the restoration of the Catoctin Furnace Historic District…and to maintain the same exclusively for educational and scientific purposes…to exhibit to coming generations our heritage of the past…”

By 1980, under Clem Gardiner’s leadership, CFHS had purchased what was to be named the Collier’s log house. With the historical society and the log cabin, Mr. Gardiner sought to provide an enduring account of the industrial history of the area. Today, the Catoctin Furnace Historical Society, Inc. continues to celebrate, study, and preserve the architecture, landscape, and culture of this pre-Revolutionary village.

The double log house at 12607 Catoctin Furnace Road, now known as the headquarters of the Catoctin Furnace Historical Society, Inc., is unusual in Catoctin Furnace as it is the only extant double log house. The two dwellings within the duplex share a common interior wall and there is an interior brick chimney on each end. The exact construction date of the double log house is unknown but it is assumed that the larger section was constructed first ca. 1810 and the smaller section added ca. 1830.

On July 13, 1811, a public sale notice published in the Frederick Town Record listed the Catoctin Furnace complex and described it as containing 15 to 20 houses for the accommodation of workmen, all in good order. The Frederick County Tax Assessment Book for 1876 (No. 15, p. 80) described the furnace complex and included the presence of 50 tenant houses. Today, ten of the original furnace worker houses (four stone houses and six log houses) stand adjacent to Catoctin Furnace Road south of the furnace.

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