Named for the southwest corner of Britain, Cornwall became one of the premier American iron-producing districts because of its rich surface deposits of magnetite. The hills have been mined into a vast depression that is now a water-filled pit and disguises the connection between Miners’ Village (LE4) and the iron furnace (LE2). In the 1730s, Peter Grubb, an immigrant from Cornwall, England, acquired the land and operated a small “bloomery” ironworks that combined the rich ore of Big and Middle hills with nearby limestone. It was heated by charcoal from his forested landholdings. Most of the present structures are the legacy of the Coleman family whose forebear, Irish immigrant Robert Coleman, rose through the ranks of Grubb's operation from clerk to owner. By the middle of the nineteenth century the Coleman family had become perhaps the most important architectural patrons between Harrisburg and Philadelphia.
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