| The country was new, no survey had been made to attempt to locate these minerals; as a result some of the early enterprises resulted in financial loss to the owners.
Salt slicks and places where brackish water oozed from the ground determined the location of most of the pioneer salt works. The drilling processes were crude; one well was drilled to a depth of 500 feet by eight man who lifted the tools and allowed them to fall. It required three years to complete the job. Afterwards, the spring pole, operated by a tread mill with an old horse to supply the power, came into use. Even ropes to attach the tools to the spring pole were not to be had and poles coupled together by mortises were used as substitutes. Frequently the only source from which to obtain information relating to these early works is that of tradition, not always to be relied upon. A more reliable source from which to draw conclusions are the mounds or earth and stone that yet remain, mute witnesses to the enterprise of bygone days. One or these mounds, located near the border or the creek, a short distance above the mouth of Barren Run marks the first place where salt was manuractured in this locality. The brackish water and bubbles of gas that escape through it, near the edge of the creek, show where the well was located. Salt was made when the Alliance Furnace was in operation and for some time after it closed. Of the amount or salt produced there is no record. The size of the mound indicates that it was a large plant, and the crumbled and overgrown condition of the ruins are evidences of its age.
THE ALLIANCE FURNACE
Up among the green hills of Jacobs Creek, on the Fayette County side, two and one-half miles from the Youghiogheny River and seven miles west of Scottdale, stands the Alliance Furnace, the oldest west of the Appalachian Mountains. Dr. Frank Cowan says of it; "The stack is still standing, but in ruins - the most impressive and picturesque of the ancient structures of Southwestern Pennsylvania, concealed in a forest or seventy-five years growth, and the scene of many a strange story in the wilds of Barren Run."
This iron works was variously known as “Jacobs Creek Furnace”, “Turnbulls' s Ironworks”, “Alliance Iron-works” and "Colonel Holker's Ironworks." The title of the Alliance Furnace is the one usually given where historic reference is made.