The first people to live
in this area were American Indians who settled here some 10,000 years
ago. Vast amounts of projectile points and other stone tools were
gathered from this area when the fields were tilled for spring planting.
The first European
settlers were of Germanic origin whose main activity was farming.
Mistreated in New York state, they were invited to Pennsylvania by Gov.
Keith. They arrived in our area by traveling down along the Susquehanna
River, up the Swatara Creek to the Tulpehocken in 1723. Other immigrants
mostly arrived through the Port of Philadelphia. In 1794, an iron
furnace was established along Spring Creek now called Furnace Creek. It
was a vital industry until 1927 when it was acquired by Bethlehem Steel
The Borough of Robesonia was founded in 1855, named after the furnace
owner, Henry P. Robeson, who planed the town. Robesonia's town plan
extended from Church to Robeson, from Main Street to the railroad. It
was incorporated in 1913.
Today, it has a population
of about 2,000 with a beautiful wide tree lined main street. The
southern part of the Borough contains the Robesonia Furnace Historic
District which consists of a 19th century iron makers village, most of
which is privately owned. Little remains of the industry itself but the
ruins. Numerous stone walls still dot the landscape.
The Friends of the
Robesonia Furnace, Inc. own and are preserving the Furnace Fire Engine
House, located on the bend of South Freeman Street, near Furnace Creek.