Conn. to Mont Alto Park Siding (MP 60.7)
Freight Station (MP 60.8)
W. B. Ledy (MP 60.8)
Mont Alto Park Siding
Public Delivery (MP 60.8)
D. M. Wertz Est. No. 1 (MP 61.7)
Penna. State Forestry School (MP 62.1)
The area we know today as the town of Mont Alto in Quincy Township, Southern Franklin County, was first settled in 1807 when the Iron Works were built by Col. Daniel Hughes and his son Samuel and named “Mont Alto.”
The Mont Alto Furnace continued under the Hughes’ direction until Holker Hughes, son of Samuel Hughes, sold it to a partnership headed by Col. George Berryhill Wiestling in 1864. After the purchase nearly everything had to be rebuilt, as the previous owners left the facilities fall into a state of disrepair. The company became known as the Mont Alto Iron Company.
The Mont Alto Iron Works at one time had employed 500 people for its operations. The furnace originally had eight ore mines and the number grew to 17, all close by. The workers who carried the ore, charcoal and small pieces of limestone to the stack were called “fillers.” A foundry for the operation was built in 1815. A rolling mill was added in 1832 but was discontinued in 1867.
A nail factory was built in 1835 but was destroyed by fire in 1850.
After a major fire at the Iron Works in 1889, Wiestling went on to organize a new company which only lasted a year and a half before the colonel’s passing on June 17, 1891, at the age of 57. His brother, Edward Wiestling, became superintendent of the Iron Works until 1893, when the Iron Works were closed and dismantled.
At the time it closed, the Iron Works consisted of a blast furnace; a steam forge; a foundry; machine, blacksmith, carpenter and wheelwright shops; plus two sawmills.
In 1902 the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania purchased the park and furnace lands, which became Pennsylvania’s first state forest.
In 1903 Pennsylvania Gov. Samuel Pennypacker appointed Joseph T. Rothrock as the first commissioner of forestry. In May 1903, the State Forest Academy was established at Mont Alto with George Wirt as administrator. Today we know it as Penn State Mont Alto, where forestry and many other academic courses are available to the students.
In 1929 the Forest Academy merged with Pennsylvania State University, establishing Penn State Mont Alto. Students were adamantly opposed to the merger, and they protested by hanging two state officials in effigy.
The campus closed from 1943 to 1946 because the students and faculty were fighting in WWII.
In 1963, Penn State Mont Alto became a Commonwealth Campus.