Join National Park Ranger, Bill Curtis, on a guided hike exploring the ruins of the Northampton Iron Furnace, the 10th iron furnace erected in Maryland. The furnace was built by the Ridgely family, owners of what is now Hampton National Historic Site.  Powered by water, the furnace contributed to early America’s wealth and provided weapons in two wars. Bill will talk about the history of the furnace and its workers and will touch on transportation history in Baltimore County. He will also discuss the ways that Americans have exploited and changed our natural resources including stone, minerals, wood, and water.  Water was an especially important resource. It powered early industry and provided much-needed resources for industry and for life. While profiting from water, early Americans also changed how it flows to and feeds the Chesapeake Bay. Those changes can still be seen today.

Difficulty: Moderate. We will walk about 2.5 miles. Some of the walking (about 1,000 feet) will be off trail, over bumpy terrain that has brambles. None of the trail is paved. There are no hills.

What to wear/What to bring: Dress weather appropriate, sunscreen, water

Location: We will meet on the east side of Dulaney Valley Road, at its intersection with Chapelwood Lane. Street parking is available on Chapelwood Lane. Please be very careful in crossing Dulaney Valley Road.

Cost: Please register and pay on our website: NHSM Member Price: $10 per person / Non-Member Price: $15 per person

Opportunity:  A volunteer is needed to assist with participant sign-in and collecting waivers. If you would like to volunteer the event cost is waived. Please contact Emily at for more information.

Who is Bill? Bill Curtis is a National Park Ranger currently stationed at Hampton National Historic Site and Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine. While a history major at Gettysburg College, he began his career as a Licensed Battlefield Guide.  His NPS career has included full time duty as an interpreter, law enforcement officer, and he now works in the Resource Management Division, splitting his time between museum work and helping to care for the historic landscape. He is a Maryland Master Naturalist, and he is happily married and the proud father of two.

Bill, like most of the other people leading NHSM, is a volunteer, so your money will go directly to support the programs, the nature collections, and the building that make this kind of nature education possible. Donate or become a member of the Natural History Society of Maryland by visiting

This guided hike, “Exploring the Ruins of the Northampton Iron Furnace” is being given in honor of Water/Ways, the newest traveling exhibition from the Smithsonian’s Museum on Main Street program.The Historical Society of Baltimore County (HSBC) is the first of six Maryland sites to host Water/Ways and the Natural History Society of Maryland is joining HSBC and many local organizations and businesses to promote water-themed programming from May 25, 2019 to July 6, 2019 to raise people’s understanding of what water means to our community. Water/Ways is part of Museum on Main Street, a collaboration between the Smithsonian Institution and the Maryland Humanities Council, and was adapted from an exhibition organized by the American Museum of Natural History, New York.