Once home to a bustling ironworks, a pacesetter in America's Industrial Revolution, West Point Foundry Preserve now provides an excellent opportunity to explore history and nature.
Replica of the historic gun platform at West Point Foundry Preserve
Why it's special
Hikers at West Point Foundry Preserve enjoy a tranquil soundtrack—the gentle murmur of Foundry Brook. That's a far cry from the din greeting 19th-century visitors to the sprawling West Point Foundry that filled this ravine. Established in 1818 to supply the U.S. government with artillery, the ironworks employed hundreds of workers who produced some of America's first steam engines, locomotives and ironclad ships, as well as pipes for New York City's water system and Parrott guns, cannon credited with winning the Civil War. The foundry's owners also were business pioneers, among the first to control every aspect of manufacturing, from raw material to product distribution.
After foundry operations ceased in 1911, nature slowly reclaimed the land. Today trails follow old rail beds and pass extensive remains of the casting house, boring mill and other essential foundry structures that led to the preserve's inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places. Exciting new interpretive features—including a full-scale sculptural model of the 36-foot water wheel that powered the boring mill—tell the story of the 87-acre site's contributions to America's Industrial Revolution and the Civil War, as well as the cleanup leading to its astonishing ecological renewal. Now West Point Foundry Preserve is a great place to escape the din while connecting with the Hudson Highlands' past and its diverse wildlife.
Experience the sights and sounds of a 19th-century ironworks: Take a unique audiovisual tour of West Point Foundry Preserve by visiting http://www.foundrytour.org/ using any web-enabled mobile device. For optimal enjoyment, headphones are recommended for on-site visits.
A 0.5-mile universally accessible trail leads from Cold Spring's Metro-North Station past Foundry Cove—a haven for waterfowl and migratory birds—before passing ruins of the foundry's 1865 office building and other key structures. The preserve is a sensitive archaeological site; please stay on marked trails. Two miles of additional trails pass more foundry ruins within the preserve before taking visitors to related sites in Cold Spring, including Scenic Hudson's Foundry Dock Park (location of the ironworks' riverfront loading dock), The Chapel Restoration (originally a church built for the foundry's Catholic employees) and well-preserved foundry-era buildings in the village's downtown.
For more information about West Point Foundry, visit the Putnam History Museum at 63 Chestnut Street, a short walk from the preserve. Housed in the former foundry school for teenage apprentices and employees' children, it now contains a permanent installation on the foundry featuring artifacts, documents and art, including John Ferguson Weir's 1866 painting, The Gun Foundry.
When to visit
Year-round daily dawn to dusk. Allow a minimum of 2 hours. PLEASE NOTE: there is no snow removal at the Kemble Ave. parking area. Under snowy conditions, visitors should park at Cold Spring Metro-North station.
68 Kemble Ave., Cold Spring, NY 10516 In Cold Spring, drive down Main Street toward the river. Turn left on Rock Street and right on Kemble Avenue. The park entrance is at the end of Kemble Avenue.
Train: The park also is universally accessible via Metro-North Railroad from the ramp at the southern end of the northbound platform.
For groups coming by bus: please contact Scenic Hudson minimum of two weeks in advance so we can help you accommodate your trip.
- Informational kiosk at trailhead
- Universally accessible parking and restrooms and trail
- Mobile tour http://www.foundrytour.org/
- Picnic tables (carry in/carry out)
- Benches and overlooks
- Sightseeing and wildlife watching
- Dog walking on leash; clean up after your pet
- Self-guided educational outings (contact Scenic Hudson in advance)
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