From 1776 to 1873, the production of charcoal was a big business in the Catoctin area employing over 300 woodcutters and using timber from 11,000 acres of company land. Charcoal fueled the Catoctin Iron Furnace which separated out the iron from the raw iron ore.
The process of charcoal making started with the woodcutters, who entered a forest and cut down almost every living tree. Only one or two trees were left to reseed the forest. The logs were then carried using horse or mule drawn sleds to the charcoal makers who would build hearths to make charcoal.
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Archeology of the Charcoal Industry