Cold Spring in Putnam County, New York — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
The 1865 Oﬃce Building
This magnificent building is the only freestanding structure remaining at the preserve from the foundry years, rising alone from the forest cover. Yet as the photo below shows, West Point Foundry was a massive complex of industrial shops, railways and offices that filled the entire ravine. Built in 1865 – at the height of the foundry’s production – this symmetrical Victorian structure with its Renaissance architectural details replaced a smaller, one-story structure adjacent to the foundry’s machine shop that had served as its offices since the 1820s.
Ironically, the foundry’s prosperity, which allowed the office building to be constructed, began a long decline almost the moment it was built. With the Civil War at an end, government orders for ordinance dried up, yet West Point Foundry’s management was reluctant to transition operations away from munitions production. That, and increasing national demand for steel, signaled the beginning of the end of the foundry’s most productive years.
However, that decline also helped preserve the office building in the remarkable condition you see it in today. The structure would be in far worse shape had it been continually occupied and expanded over decades, like other buildings in the complex. Extensive work has been done to stabilize the building to preserve it for
All images, except where noted, from the collection of the Putnam History Museum.
( North Side Marker : )
The Tracks of Time
Almost from the beginning, rail transport played an important role at West Point Foundry. Though situated to afford easy access to the Hudson River’s shipping lanes, from an early date the foundry had direct railway sidings running between facilities and its riverside docks, with horses and oxen initially providing the power to haul heavily laden carts along the tracks. It wasn’t until 1870 that the first steam-powered engine began working at the ironworks. Brought from the Ninth Avenue elevated railroad in New York City, where it had been damaged in an accident, it was repaired at the foundry for use in the complex. These circa-1890 photos give some sense of the system of rails and exchanges at use in the foundry. The remains of tracks and track beds can be seen throughout the preserve. The recreated rail turntable evokes the complex network of transport that heavy industry began to utilize in the 19th century.
Location. 41° 24.937′ N, 73° 56.857′ W. Marker is in Cold Spring, New York, in Putnam County. Marker can be reached from Kemble Avenue, on the left when traveling south. Click for map
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. West Point Foundry Archaeological Site (within shouting distance of this marker); From Forest to Factory to Forest (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); The West Point Foundry (about 400 feet away); Boring Mill Overlook (about 400 feet away); Foundry Brook (about 500 feet away); a different marker also named Boring Mill Overlook (about 500 feet away); Jewel of the Hudson (about 500 feet away); History of West Point Foundry (about 800 feet away). Click for a list of all markers in Cold Spring.
Also see . . . West Point Foundry Preserve. Scenic Hudson website. (Submitted on January 16, 2014, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.)
Categories. • Industry & Commerce •
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. This page has been viewed 308 times since then and 17 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on , by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. 7. submitted on , by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. 8, 9, 10, 11, 12. submitted on , by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.