Cumberland Gap gearing up to celebrate 200 years of the Iron Furnace

Published 4:48 pm Friday, September 27, 2019

The Genealogy Jamboree and Pioneer Days, an annual event celebrating its 10th year, is gearing up to take over the Cumberland Gap on Oct. 18-19.

Not only will Cumberland Gap be celebrating the Genealogy Jamboree and Pioneer Days, but they will also be celebrating the 250th anniversary of Daniel Boone’s first long hunt through the mountain pass to the 200th anniversary of the Iron Furnace, the oldest man-made structure inside the Cumberland Gap National Historical Park.

“In his April 13, 1750 journal entry, Dr. Thomas Walker wrote about the Gap, the cave, and the stream coming from the cave,” CGNHP spokesperson Carol Borenaman explained. “He wrote, ‘On the north side of the Gap is a large spring, which falls very fast, and just above the spring is a small entrance to a large cave, which the spring runs through, and there is a constant stream of cool are issuing out. The spring is sufficient to turn a mill.’”

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According to Borneman, 69 years after Dr. Walker penned his entry, the iron furnace was built utilizing that spring from the creek.

The Iron Will will celebrate the 200 years of the Cumberland Gap Iron Furnace and activities that will be held throughout the weekend include:

• Live Modern Iron Pour

• Charcoal Making

• Make Your Own Iron Creation

• History of Iron Making

• Cast Iron Pattern Making

• Scavenger Hunt

• Demonstrations and Living History to Look Through a Window into the Past

“See the Iron Furnace come to life,” Borneman exclaimed.

On Friday, events will be held from 9 a.m. through 5 p.m. and Saturday events are scheduled from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and all events are free.

The Genealogy Jamboree is set up on Colwyn Avenue and offers a variety of genealogy related tents and vendors. Everything from genealogical societies, historical societies, crafters and re-enactors will be attending the event. The event specializes in local history and it offers guests a chance to learn how to begin research into their own genealogy. There are also genealogy and history lectures for the Cumberland Gap slated.

Other activities will include demonstrations on how local ancestors lived day to day, such as how they made soap, various clothing, baskets, chairs and even blacksmithing.

It is also important to note that this year’s Jamboree will be celebrating an important milestone for the region with the the 250 year anniversary of Daniel Boone’s first passage through Cumberland Gap and into Kentucky in the year of 1769. This passage is known to history buffs as The Gateway to the West.

The most prominent genealogists who will be attending the event will be the Boone Society, a nonprofit association of historians, descendants and genealogists who dedicate their time to studying the Boone family. They were formed as a reference service for other historians and genealogists as well as a clearing house for bibliographies.