The cover art on this directory is a local artist‘s, Robert
Spring, rendering of the Penfield Homestead as it looks today. It
is believed that the present-day Penfield Homestead Museum was actually
built in 1826. The original purpose was not a homestead but an inn
with a "tap room". In 1828, the Allen and Anna Penfield
family finally moved to the "homestead" in present day
Ironville. They relocated with their children Daniel, Hannah, Caroline,
James and Lucy Jane, who ranged in age from 13 years to a few months.
For over 40 years Allen Penfield raised his family and ran his
business from the "Homestead". In 1872 the Penfield family
ended its involvement in the commerce of Irondale (now known as
Ironville). After his father's passing, James and his family would
return to the "Homestead" every summer except for a two
year period they spent traveling in Europe, the Near East and Egypt.
Colonel and Mrs. Penfield would make a leisurely trip from Boston
to Crown Point that would last for days. The buggie the Penfields
used for the treks is in the carriage house at the museum today.
Miss Annie and her 2 maids would take the more direct route by
train. The new rail line provided a fast and safe means of transportation.
They arrived with the family baggage and barrels and crates of groceries
from the finest mercantile shops in Boston. After the family was
settled in to their "Homestead", long buggie rides were
a organized daily. The only exceptions being bad weather and Sundays.
The Penfield's made several improvements to the Homestead including
a carriage barn built in 1877. Whether the new barn was constructed
for vehicles or his beloved warhorse, Billy who lived to age of
31, it is not known. It is a fact that Billy has a marker on the
lawn beside the homestead listing the battles in which the horse
The Penfield’s only child, Miss Annie never married but
continued to summer in Ironville until her death in 1954.
In 1962 the extended Penfield Family completed acquisition of
the Penfield Homestead and deeded it over to the Penfield Foundation.
The Foundation incorporated in 1967 as a non-profit organization
and began preservation work on the homestead and other related structures,
including the foundations at the site of the old iron works. In
1974, the entire hamlet of Ironville earned the designation of Historic
District on the National Register of Historic Places. The Foundation’s
properties now total 550 acres, including the Homestead, the parsonage,
the church, the former Penfield farm and barns, the mill pond and
the site of the Crown Point Iron Company’s iron works along
Putnam Creek. Membership in the Foundation is open to all that share
an interest in the history and heritage of the area.