“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near Copake Falls in Columbia County, New York — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)

Copake Iron Works


Copake Iron Works Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Steve Stoessel, June 22, 2019
1. Copake Iron Works Marker
In 1845, Lemuel Pomeroy II, a prominent gun manufacturer from Pittsfield, Massachusetts, and his sons, established the Copake Iron Works here at the western edge of the Litchfield Iron District. The site offered all the resources essential for iron manufacturing: dependable water power, high quality iron-ore deposits, limestone, and extensive hardwood forests for charcoal production.

The Pomeroys constructed a charcoal-fired blast furnace, a refinery forge, a water-powered trip-hammer, and a dam. They brought in immigrant laborers and donated land and money to build a church. The Copake Iron Works soon became the nucleus of a thriving community served by the New York and Harlem Railroad.

Frederick Miles purchased the Copake Works in 1862, and in 1871 he and his sons rebuilt the furnace. Over the next 30 years, they added a large steam engine house, a foundry shed, and charcoal storage barns. In the late 1870’s they built an ironworks railroad to move raw materials around the complex and transport pig iron to the nearby New York and Harlem Railroad tracks.

In the 1880’s charcoal iron production in the Litchfield
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Iron District peaked as high-quality was supplied Northeast foundries. Operations at Copake’s furnace ceased in 1903, when high-capacity, coal-fired steel mills in the Mid-West and South began producing a comparable product at lower cost. The foundry’s operations, however, continued for another 20 years, making specialty castings and plow bottoms for William A. Miles’s Copake Plow Works.

New York State purchased the property in 1928, and it became part of newly created Taconic State park. Soon after, the frame buildings enclosing the blast furnace and the foundry were torn down, and portions of the furnace’s marble block were removed and used to build retaining walls along the road to Bash Bish Falls
Erected by Friends of Taconic Park, NYS Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation. (Marker Number 1.)
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Industry & Commerce. In addition, it is included in the Appalachian Iron Furnaces series list. A significant historical year for this entry is 1845.
Location. 42° 7.144′ N, 73° 30.844′ W. Marker is near Copake Falls, New York, in Columbia County. Marker can be reached from Valley View Road. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Copake NY 12516, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Charcoal Blast Furnace Operations (here, next to this marker); Blowing Engine House
The Blast Furnace image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Steve Stoessel, June 22, 2019
2. The Blast Furnace
(within shouting distance of this marker); Pomeroy (within shouting distance of this marker); Pomeroy Homes (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); a different marker also named Copake Iron Works (about 400 feet away); Site of Pomeroy Houses (about 500 feet away); Isaac Chesbrough House (about 600 feet away); Blast Furnace & Charging Deck (about 600 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Copake Falls.
Credits. This page was last revised on June 25, 2019. It was originally submitted on June 25, 2019, by Steve Stoessel of Niskayuna, New York. This page has been viewed 320 times since then and 94 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on June 25, 2019, by Steve Stoessel of Niskayuna, New York. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.

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Nov. 30, 2023