Hills of Iron Bringing Bartow history to life
by Amanda Stegall
Mar 20, 2011 | 2540 views | 0 0 comments | 21 21 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Blacksmith Mauro Pradella demonstrates how cooking tools were made in the 1800s during Saturday’s Red Top Mountain State Park Hills of Iron event.
SKIP BUTLER/The Daily Tribune News
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Red Top Mountain buzzed with various outdoor activities throughout the park as people from all around gathered to enjoy the beautiful weather. Along with the regular events, the Hills of Iron annual program attracted attention.

"We came here to camp and saw the flyers for the event," said Deb Roche of Marietta, as she and her fellow Life University members carved designs into casings to create an iron mold.

As part of the program, park rangers re-create the experience of life in the 1800s. Visitors walked through an open cabin, fully furnished, as park members dressed for their parts cooked over open fires in the historic manner. Behind the cabin, a working blacksmith's shop gave participants an opportunity to see firsthand what the job entailed.

Crowded under a covered picnic area, people of all ages carved designs into casings composed of sand and other composites to later be used as a mold for liquid iron. "We have 125 casings ready to sell and the furnace will be fired up around 4 p.m.," said Dustin Baker, one of the park employees managing the iron furnace.

Baker explained the process and pointed out the dangers of handling liquid iron. "Iron melts at 3,000 degrees," he said. "We have to wear all cotton clothing under leather. Anything synthetic will melt and burn to our skin. I've seen a guy be burned so badly when [he came in contact with] the iron that his foot [where it touched him] had to be amputated."

Events continued into the night as people were to free to roam the park and enjoy the day.