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Tahawus in Essex County, New York — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

An Iron Making Complex

 
 
An Iron Making Complex Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Steve Stoessel, March 28, 2020
1. An Iron Making Complex Marker
Inscription.  
Finding The Ore Was Only The Beginning
The iron deposits along the Upper Hudson were rich and promising, and mining the ore and smelting it into iron were labor-intensive operations that occupied a long stretch of the Hudson River and hundreds of acres of surrounding land. A village called Adirondac was built to house the workers, and the Hudson River was dammed to generate water power to operate the equipment and transport materials in and out.

Birdseye View of the Furnace Complex
The stone furnace still standing was the core of the iron-making operation, but there was much more to the complex. This artist's conception, based on written accounts from company records, shows how the furnace complex might have looked under full operation in 1855. In spite of the elaborate equipment, the furnace produced iron for only two years.

Furnace Details
Ore and charcoal were transported by wagon to the top of the charging bridge.

Lumber, milled from virgin timber at a sawmill just upriver, was used to construct the charging bridge, its massive enclosure, and the casting and
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wheel houses. These buildings have long since rotted away.

A hoist loaded pigs onto barges for the trip down the Hudson, through Sanford Lake, to the Lower Works, then by wagon to Lake Champlain, and finally to the company foundry in Jersey City, NJ, where they were used to make steel products.

The Hudson River was dammed and diverted through the wheel house to power the blast furnace equipment.

A Short Life
1849 - Construction of the New Furnace begins.
1854 - Furnace complete at a cost of $43,000 and first fired on August 20.
1855 - Furnace producing 10-12 tons of iron per day, operating around the clock, but transportation difficulties, lack of funds, and a national recession cause the owners to cease operations.
1857 - Flooding destroys dams here and at Lower Works. Furnace never fired again.
 
Erected by Open Space Institute.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Industry & Commerce. A significant historical year for this entry is 1974.
 
Location. 44° 4.737′ N, 74° 3.38′ W. Marker is in Tahawus, New York, in Essex County. Marker is on Upper Works Road (County Route 25) 9.1 miles north of Blue Ridge Road, on the right when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Newcomb NY 12879, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance
Historic Map of The Upper Works c. 1850 image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Steve Stoessel, March 28, 2020
2. Historic Map of The Upper Works c. 1850
The development that supported the smelting operations was called the Upper Works. A dam six miles downstream enabled transport of materials on barges to and from the development there called Lower Works. North is towards the right
of this marker. “New” McIntyre Furnace (a few steps from this marker); Making Bricks (within shouting distance of this marker); Heavy Construction (within shouting distance of this marker); A Monumental Structure (within shouting distance of this marker); Hudson Powered (within shouting distance of this marker); Tahawus Clubhouse (approx. half a mile away); Adirondac (approx. half a mile away); MacNaughton Cottage (approx. half a mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Tahawus.
 
More about this marker. The marker is on a platform beside the furnace, and consists of three signs relating to the name, the project as well as the furnace itself.
 
Also see . . .
1. Tahawus. (Submitted on April 2, 2020, by Steve Stoessel of Niskayuna, New York.)
2. Open Space Institute. (Submitted on April 6, 2020, by Michael Herrick of Southbury, Connecticut.)
3. Adirondack Park Agency - Tahawus Tract. (Submitted on April 2, 2020, by Steve Stoessel of Niskayuna, New York.)
 
Iron Pig image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Steve Stoessel, March 28, 2020
3. Iron Pig
The furnace was tapped twice a day; each time about 6 tons of melted iron flowed into sand molds (pigs) in the casting house. Each pig weighed about 100 pounds. The drawing above shows a cross-section of a pig at about actual size top side down as it might have been stacked for transport.
Open Space Institute image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Steve Stoessel, March 28, 2020
4. Open Space Institute
Protecting Our Heritage
The Open Space Institute protects scenic, natural and historic landscapes to provide public enjoyment, conserve habitat and sustain communities. Founded in 1974 to protect significant landscapes in New York State, OSI has been a partner in the protection of nearly 2.2 million acres in North America. A leader in environmental conservation, OSI leverages our knowledge and attracts resources for strategic investments to make innovative land conservation happen.

In addition to the direct benefits gained by protecting open space for environmental and recreational significance, OSI also places great value in historical preservation. We preserve these sites, and the viewsheds that surround them, in honor of the past and for the enjoyment and education of current and future generations.

This furnace complex and the other historical resources in the Upper Works area are among the best remaining examples of early iron making facilities in the country, and they present a tangible link to the history of exploration, industry, and settlement of the Adirondacks.

If you would like to help support this project, or for more information about OSI, please visit our website at www.osiny.org (http://www.osiny.org) or call 518-427-1564.

Thanks to the following supporters for helping to make this project possible:
- New York State Council on the Arts
- New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation
- New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
- Overhills Foundation
- The Prospect Hill Foundation
- The Walbridge Fund, Ltd.
- The Town of Newcomb
Archibald McIntyre image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Steve Stoessel, March 28, 2020
5. Archibald McIntyre
The furnace is named for Achibald McIntyre, a wealthy and influential businessman and politician, and one of the financial backers of the efforts to produce iron here.
Blast Furnace From Below image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Steve Stoessel, March 28, 2020
6. Blast Furnace From Below
The Iron Complex markers are behind the wooden railing on the right.
An Iron Making Complex Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Steve Stoessel
7. An Iron Making Complex Marker
Marker is on the left in front of furnace. The charging bridge embankment can be seen on the right of the road. Looking south on Upper Works Road
An Iron Making Complex Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Steve Stoessel, March 28, 2020
8. An Iron Making Complex Marker
A view of the trail around the furnace to the other markers.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on April 10, 2020. It was originally submitted on April 2, 2020, by Steve Stoessel of Niskayuna, New York. This page has been viewed 215 times since then and 68 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on April 2, 2020, by Steve Stoessel of Niskayuna, New York.   7, 8. submitted on April 9, 2020, by Steve Stoessel of Niskayuna, New York. • Michael Herrick was the editor who published this page.
 
Editor’s want-list for this marker. A wide angle photo of the marker and its surroundings. • Can you help?

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Jul. 12, 2024