SNOW HILL – Vandalism has resulted in the temporary closure of Furnace Town.
The historic site remains closed this week after staff discovered extensive vandalism at Furnace Town last Wednesday.
“There’s an active police investigation and because of the level of vandalism we had to enlist the services of a restoration company,” said Claudia Nagle, executive director of Furnace Town.
Nagle said she arrived at Furnace Town last Wednesday to find seven of the historic site’s buildings damaged. Doors and windows were broken, lights were knocked off buildings and artifacts were destroyed. Nagle said the restoration company spent three days getting things closed off and cleaned up. Because the buildings are so old, making repairs and replacing broken items is expected to be a slow process.
“We have to identify craftspeople that can do the restoration work and we have to work with the insurance company to get the repairs made,” she said.
Nagle and Furnace Town volunteers have spent much of 2021 trying to renew interest in the historic site, which was closed to visitors much of 2020 because of COVID-19. The vandalism, coming just as the nonprofit was celebrating some successful 2021 events and preparing to entertain school groups this fall, was devastating, Nagle said.
“The level of destruction is shocking,” she said, noting that Furnace Town hadn’t experienced anything like this before.
She encourages anyone with information about the vandalism, which occurred last Tuesday night, to contact the Maryland State Police. Furnace Town volunteer Eddie Dean is offering a $1,000 reward to anyone providing information that can lead to the arrest and conviction of the individuals responsible for the vandalism.
“The damage was extensive and widespread and the individuals should be prosecuted to the fullest degree,” Dean wrote on his Facebook page.
Nagle said Furnace Town was grateful for the outpouring of support from the community following the vandalism. She asks supporters to be patient for now.
“We will have opportunities for people to assist us when we get all the details sorted out,” she said.
While Furnace Town is closed to the public for now it is operating on a limited basis. Nagle said weddings planned near the iron furnace are expected to still take place and she’s hopeful that the “Halloween in the Forest” event can still be held later this month.