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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Cold Spring in Putnam County, New York — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Boring Mill Overlook

 
 
Boring Mill Overlook Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, January 16, 2014
1. Boring Mill Overlook Marker
Inscription.
You are looking at the ruins of the boring mill, one of West Point Foundry’s vital centers and among the earliest buildings in the foundry complex. A large, two-story structure, the boring mill served several functions. The first floor was used for the manufacture of various products, while the second floor housed a pattern shop, where forms and molds for the molten iron were created and stored.

A hive of activity, the boring mill was filled with geared cranes, whirring lathes and other heavy machinery driven by a massive water wheel and leather belting system. The water that powered them came from an intricate series of headraces fed by Foundry Brook. Cannons, steam boilers, church bells and industrial hardware for cotton and sugar plantations in the U.S. and Caribbean were produced here in great numbers – setting the stage for America’s emergence as a major industrial power.

Water Wheel
The boring mill’s operations were driven by the powerful, 36-foot diameter water wheel housed adjacent to the main structure. The replica you see today depicts a section of the wheel at its original scale, located exactly where it stood during the foundry’s heyday.

Battery Pond
Just to the north is a two-tiered granite stone dam that held a reservoir of water – recycled from the foundry’s blast
Boring Mill Overlook Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, January 16, 2014
2. Boring Mill Overlook Marker
furnace and from additional run-off – that supplemented the considerable waterpower of Foundry Brook and its upstream dam, supplying the foundry’s water wheels and turbine that provided power to the gears and machinery. There were three ponds on the site, allowing West Point Foundry to operate year-round, even during dry seasons. This sophisticated system perfectly illustrates the innovation required to recreate and operate heavy machinery in the days before electricity.

A Powerful Force
Water has profoundly impacted the West Point Foundry site. Whether flowing, soaking, drying or freezing, it has played the greatest role in destroying and obscuring the history that remains here by cracking and eroding building ruins and decomposing artifacts that await discovery. As the foundry’s network of sluices, gates and dams decayed in the century after its operations ceased, water often flowed haphazardly over much of the site. Today, the conditions that made this ravine an ideal place for a water-powered enterprise – its steep elevation, powerful brook, healthy rainfall and proximity to the river – make it a challenge to protect. In an effort to alleviate flooding, Scenic Hudson has reinforced sections of Foundry Brook’s banks and maintains the preserve’s forest critical for soaking up water.

Putnam History Musuem
To learn more about
Boring Mill Overlook Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, January 16, 2014
3. Boring Mill Overlook Marker
West Point Foundry and see examples of its output – from Parrott gun projectiles to cast iron furniture – visit the Putnam History Museum, which features a permanent foundry exhibition as well as archival material related to the ironworks. Founded in 1906 to collect, preserve, and present historical and cultural material pertaining to Putnam County, the foundry, and the Hudson Highlands, the museum is located at 63 Chestnut Street (stop 8 on the Red Trail) in the former schoolhouse built for foundry apprentices and employees’ children.

( Sidebar : )
Under an illustration of the mill and water wheel:
1. Pattern storage area
2. Water wheel
3. Jib crane
4. Wheel lathe
5. Parrott guns on lathe
6. Power drive belts

This illustration depicts how the boring mill complex appeared during the Civil War, when the foundry was manufacturing Parrott guns.

One of the challenges of industrial archaeology is that, in many cases, structures such as these are fluid in their layout over time, with additional rooms added and others falling into disuse, reflecting new technologies, advances in raw materials and – above all else – changing fortunes in manufacturing. Understanding how these early industrial sites functioned in their time is a complex process, combining careful excavations with research into documentary evidence
Back of Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, January 16, 2014
4. Back of Marker
The marker features photographs of the inside of the Boring Mill during the peak of the West Point Foundry.
– surveyors’ maps, village records, personal diaries and sketchbooks, and other primary source material. Period photographs also are valuable tools that help archaeologists make sense of the ruins that remain at West Point Foundry Preserve today.
 
Location. 41° 25.001′ N, 73° 56.823′ 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. Marker is located along the yellow trail in the West Point Foundry Preserve. Marker is at or near this postal address: 68 Kemble Avenue, Cold Spring NY 10516, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Foundry Brook (a few steps from this marker); a different marker also named Boring Mill Overlook (a few steps from this marker); Jewel of the Hudson (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); The 1865 Office Building (about 400 feet away); West Point Foundry Archaeological Site (about 500 feet away); From Forest to Factory to Forest (approx. 0.2 miles away); The West Point Foundry (approx. 0.2 miles away); The West Point Foundry School (approx. 0.2 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Cold Spring.
 
Also see . . .  West Point Foundry Preserve. Scenic Hudson website. (Submitted on January 17, 2014, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.)
Left Side of Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, January 16, 2014
5. Left Side of Marker
 
 
Categories. Industry & CommerceWar, US Civil
 
Right Side of Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, January 16, 2014
6. Right Side of Marker
Illustration of Mill and Water Wheel from Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, January 16, 2014
7. Illustration of Mill and Water Wheel from Marker
Marker in the West Point Foundry Preserve image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, January 16, 2014
8. Marker in the West Point Foundry Preserve
Boring Mill Water Wheel image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, January 16, 2014
9. Boring Mill Water Wheel
The marker can be seen in the upper left of the photo.
Boring Mill Water Wheel image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, January 16, 2014
10. Boring Mill Water Wheel
Two Tiered Dam image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, January 16, 2014
11. Two Tiered Dam
The Boring Mill was powered from reservoirs of water created by this dam, located just north of the marker.
Foundry Brook image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, January 16, 2014
12. Foundry Brook
This brook provided the waterpower for the mill at the West Point Foundry.
Duplicate Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, January 16, 2014
13. Duplicate Marker
A second Boring Mill Overlook marker can be found further along on the yellow trail at the West Point Foundry Preserve.
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. This page has been viewed 324 times since then and 19 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13. submitted on , by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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