“A Rich, Natural History”
The 1,125-acre Caledonia State Park is in Adams and Franklin counties, midway between Chambersburg and Gettysburg along the Lincoln Highway, US 30. The park is nestled within South Mountain, the northern terminus of the well-known Blue Ridge Mountain of Maryland and Virginia. Within South Mountain there are four state parks and 84,000 acres of state forest land waiting to be explored and enjoyed. The soils on either side of South Mountain are ideal for fruit production, proven by the abundance of orchards in the surrounding area. While Thaddeus Stevens fought for abolition in Washington DC, Caledonia Iron Works furnace foreman William Hammett was a conductor for the Underground Railroad. Hammett would meet a conductor near Pond Bank and guide run-away slaves north to Greenwood, just west of the park, to meet the next conductor on the journey to freedom. For this, and Stevens’ tireless fight for equal rights, Caledonia State Park is a Path of Freedom site. During the Gettysburg Campaign of the American Civil War, the confederate cavalry of General J.A. Early raided throughout southern Pennsylvania but followed a policy to destroy no private property or industry. The cavalry burned and pillaged Caledonia. Early explained his actions, “Mr. Stevens is an enemy of the South. He is in favor of confiscating their property and arming the Negroes. His property must be destroyed.” The Confederate army marched through the ruins of Caledonia on their way to the Battle of Gettysburg, then retreated back the same way, followed by the Union army. With money from Stevens and the help of the Ahl brothers, Cumberland County ironmen, furnace manager John Sweeney rebuilt the furnace and forge, which continued to operate at a reduced capacity until 1870.
Nice park, close access to the AT. If you are looking for a nice hike and over night camp, go south to Tumbling Run Shelter.
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Caledonia State Park
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