Cold Spring in Putnam County, New York — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
Foundry Dock Park
Our Stretch of the River
This serene site was once the bustling lifeline to the West Point Foundry, an industrial marvel and a technological powerhouse of its day.
On the Waterfront
Just after the War of 1812, President James Madison designated Cold Spring as one of four sites for a national armory. Within five years the West Point Foundry was up and operating. Cold Spring was chosen for its strategic location on the Hudson and for its sources of iron ore, hardwood for making charcoal, sand for casting, water power fed by rushing streams and the presence of the United States Military Academy on the opposite shore. It became an early example of the “company town,” complete with worker housing, a school and a chapel (see the restored Chapel of Our Lady on the rocky knoll adjacent to the park). In 1848, construction of the New York Central Railroad cut off river access to a foundry dock further southeast, and this small piece of waterfront assumed greater importance. It became the site of the foundry’s busy industrial wharf and main shipping dock, playing a critical role in the foundry’s success.
The Long Dock
The Long Dock reached from the shoreline out to the river’s main channel. Its 600-foot length was required to accommodate the steam ships with deep drafts used in the mid-19th century and after for transport
The West Point Foundry
The West Point Foundry, which operated from 1818 to 1911, was one of the country’s largest and most modern ironworks. At its peak it employed up to 1,000 workers who made the steam engines, water wheels, mill machines and other heavy equipment that drove America’s Industrial Revolution. Massive pipes that supply New York City’s water supply were made there. So were cannons, shot and shells for the U.S. government, including the innovative Parrott gun. Developed by the foundry’s superintendent, Robert Parrott, this rifled cannon helped turn the tide of the Civil War.
The West Point Foundry Preserve today is part of the Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area “Corridor of Commerce” and is among the nation’s most important industrial archeology sites.
Scenic Hudson’s Investment in Foundry Dock Park
Scenic Hudson acquired this property for public benefit in 1996 when we purchased the .87-acre West Point Foundry Preserve site. Foundry Dock Park was created to ensure that this magnificent waterfront spot will continue to connect people with the beauty, power and spirit of the river.
Scenic Hudson wishes to credit the following for their assistance:
• New York Department of Environmental Conservation and its Hudson River Estuary Program
• Village of Cold Spring
• Metro-North Railroad
Location. 41° 24.85′ N, 73° 57.477′ W. Marker is in Cold Spring, New York, in Putnam County. Marker is on Market Street, on the right when traveling south. Touch for map. Marker is located near the water at the Foundry Dock, at the end of Market Street near the Cold Spring train station. Marker is in this post office area: Cold Spring NY 10516, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. Warner Sisters (within shouting distance of this marker); General George Washington (approx. ¼ mile away); History of West Point Foundry (approx. 0.4 miles away); Gouverneur Kemble (approx. 0.4 miles away); World War II Veterans of St. Mary’s (approx. 0.4 miles away); Honor Roll (approx. 0.4 miles away); Philipstown Honor Roll (approx. 0.4 miles away); Joseph A. Percacciolo, Jr. (approx. 0.4 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Cold Spring.
More about this marker. Several pictures appear on the marker. Opposite the “On the Waterfront” text is a “1867 Beers map of Cold Spring and West Point Foundry long dock.” Next to “The Long Dock” text is a photo showing a “View of Cold Spring and West Point Foundry long dock, 1864.” “The West Point Foundry” text features an 1841 Lithograph of the West Point Foundry.
Also see . . . Foundry Dock Park. Scenic Hudson website. (Submitted on July 12, 2011, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.)
Categories. • Industry & Commerce • War, US Civil •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on July 12, 2011, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. This page has been viewed 501 times since then and 16 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. submitted on July 12, 2011, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.