View Full Version : Iron Master's closing April 30

03-10-2010, 16:52
Received notice via email from American Youth Hostels that they were not able to reach a satisfactory lease agreement with PA state parks, and so Iron Master's will be closed on April 30. Don't know what the plans are for the building, but AYH will no longer be running the hostel.

03-10-2010, 17:09
I guess that means a relocated PA Ruck.

03-10-2010, 17:11
I recommend skipping the 1/2 gallon challenge then. Can't stay there and the next privy is 7 miles away. Sad news.

03-10-2010, 17:13
I recommend skipping the 1/2 gallon challenge then. Can't stay there and the next privy is 7 miles away. Sad news.

Isn't there a privy in the State Park? They might even have hot water & showers?

03-10-2010, 17:32
I am shocked! That is the best AYH in my opinion and I have stayed at a number of them.

Anyone know the details of this? It would be worth an independent group running it. If the price was affordable I would buy the lease!

03-10-2010, 17:47
It's basically a situation where one money strapped entity (Commonwealth of PA) and another money strapped entity (AYH) just can't afford to run the place. PA wanted an annual no fault termination clause in the lease, and that just wasn't something AYH could live with. And there were a lot of renovations that had to be done, and always the difficulty raising funds for that sort of thing. The building will be used, but how and by whom... I don't know.

What a shame. Bad timing with the new AT Museum opening up just down the hill and next to the general store.

03-10-2010, 20:14
Sorry to read this news. I stayed there in 2002. Not sure when it first began serving the AT community, but it was an excellent stop along the trail.

03-10-2010, 20:27
Isn't there a privy in the State Park? They might even have hot water & showers?
There are restrooms just across from the pavilion down from the forge. the center one (common) is left open 24/7. Same with the rec building by Fuller Lake They leave the center restroom open. It has a shower but they turn off the shower during the winter. While the trail does not go by it they also leave a restroom open down at Laurel lake. All have hot water in the sinks.

03-10-2010, 20:30
allow me. heres something to think about.

donna the old caretaker never got paid on any regular basis and had no security during her stay. the state was at fault.

the ventilation concerning unvented monoxides has been killing the show forever. those of us sensitive to lack of freash air know. the stuffyness was never condusive to a hostel for professional level athleats such as us.

the ruck suffered trying to be fun and remaine within so many constraints such as a non drinking environ imposes.

the half gallon challonge will remaine. their are tons of showers and privies.

03-10-2010, 21:19
Wondering since the museum is so close is there a possibility of them taking over in some capacity. Like during peak thruhiker season.

03-10-2010, 22:00
Isn't there a privy in the State Park? They might even have hot water & showers?

I camped with a bunch of guys there and there are flush toilets and showers at the campground less than a half mile from the store.

03-10-2010, 22:04
If anyone's interested, SoutheasternBackpackers.com has a podcast posted (#73) about Iron Master's. It was recorded in January during a work party weekend, before the decision to close was made. The hostel manager and executive director of the AYH chapter that oversaw the hostel are interviewed. The podcast was posted recently, after it was known that the hostel was closing. That's mentioned in the intro.

03-10-2010, 23:55
I recommend skipping the 1/2 gallon challenge then. Can't stay there and the next privy is 7 miles away. Sad news.


But there is the State Park.

03-11-2010, 00:39
All evidence to the contrary, I'm going to choose to blame this closure on alcohol abuse.

Mrs Baggins
06-11-2010, 15:15
We were day hiking today on the AT between Washington Monument State Park and Pine Knob Shelter. Met a thru-hiker at the shelter and he was looking forward to picking up a mail drop at Iron Master's. I told him that I was pretty sure Iron Master's had shut down. He had heard nothing about it (left Springer Mar 25th) and was assuming they'd still be open and that his box would be there. So.......anyone know what they did with the mail drops they had??

06-11-2010, 15:31
The Central Pennsylvania Conservancy (CPC) (http://www.centralpaconservancy.org/node/335) will be hosting volunteer days to restore the Ironmaster’s Mansion at Pine Grove Furnace State Park. For years, the building has served as a hostel and has been frequented by many Appalachian Trail hikers as a famed half-way resting area. Due to economic constraints, the previous operators of the hostel were forced to close on May 1st of this year. CPC plans to re-open the historic building as a hostel for scout groups and hikers while also restoring it for use as an outdoor educational facility for the community. The first volunteer work day was held on June 5th, with additional days scheduled for June 19th, June 26th, and July 24th, all beginning at 9:00 AM. Local high school students, boy scouts, girl scouts, Appalachian Trail hikers, and community members will be landscaping, doing prep work, and painting the interior and exterior of the building. Anyone interested in assisting with this project is encouraged to contact David Heath at [email protected] ([email protected]?subject=Iron%20Master%27s%20Hoste l) or 717-386-8192. Once restored, CPC plans to dedicate each room in the mansion to a theme that reflects the area and the mansion’s rich history. With the Civilian Conservation Corps Camp nearby, the Appalachian Trail halfway marker, the Mansion being a location on the Underground Railroad, the Furnace itself, the hunting heritage, and the State Park, the Ironmaster’s Mansion holds a story of our region’s history that is well worth preserving. The CPC is a small non-profit land trust, operating solely on the kind donations of the community. Please consider joining CPC for a work day, donating tools or construction supplies, or making a monetary donation to help restore this beloved structure. ~~ I went all through the Mansion from the basement to the attic on June 5th / pictures 1273 & 1306-1319 /

06-11-2010, 15:54
Some of the renovations are to bring things up to code such as replacing all the counter tops in the kitchen with stainless steel. Some changes are to improve atmosphere such as putting gas logs in the fireplaces that can not be used for burning wood. The heating system needs converted from electric baseboard to something more efficient. Part of the Mansion may be used for meetings, conferences, retreats, etc. for an additional revenue stream. They plan to continue to host the PA Ruck. The Mansion may be closed part of the winter to reduce annual operating costs.