taking vertical depths
working on paperwork.
West Point Foundry in Cold Spring, New York operated in the narrow
valley between 9D and the Hudson River for most of a century, from
1817 until 1912. Today, the foundry's owner, Scenic Hudson Land
Trust, Inc., is partnering with several institutions to learn more
about that history.
of the most active partners, especially in summer months, is Michigan
Technological University's Industrial Archaeology program. You may
have noticed the Michigan Tech vehicles driving through town to
and from Kemble Ave. each day. Or maybe you were one of the 100+
interested visitors who braved the cool, damp weather the weekend
of June 5th & 6th to check out the project. If none of this
sounds familiar, let this web update be your introduction to Michigan
Tech, Industrial Archaeology, and an important archaeological site
right in Cold Spring.
West Point Foundry produced a variety of iron products during the
nineteenth century including steam engines, early locomotives, sugar
machinery, water system valves, and of course cannons. At their
peak of production during the Civil War, there were over 1,000 employees
making about one million dollars worth of cannons and projectiles
for Union forces. The Office Building, built in 1865, still stands
on the site. At first glance, it seems to be all that remains of
the complex. But in recent years, students enrolled in Michigan
Tech's Industrial Archaeology Field School have shown that much
more of the foundry still exists in the nearby woods.
Tech is the only graduate program in North America dedicated to
industrial archaeology (exploration of the material culture of people
from the industrial time-period). In a partnership with Scenic Hudson,
Michigan Tech has spent the last three summers exploring the historic
documents, mapping the site, and using archaeology to learn more
about the foundry. The site has become a classroom for students
to learn about the iron industry and about excavation techniques.
This summer, about a dozen students and seven volunteers from Earthwatch
Institute are investigating two areas. We have expanded excavations
in the Boring Mill, where steam engine cylinders and cannon bores
were finished. We are also exploring the blowing engine of the blast
furnace just south of the 9D bridge.
following webpages will contain regular updates and photographs
on our progress down at the Foundry this summer written and taken
by students enrolled in the field school. Michigan Tech would to
encourage you to take advantage of this unique site by visiting
us sometime this summer. Already this year we have seen over 50
fourth graders and 100 visitors to our first open house weekend.
We welcome you to join a tour on Fridays, beginning with June 18th.
In addition to the weekly tours, we will also host another "Day
at the Foundry" on Saturday July 31 and Sunday August 1.
can look forward to hearing monthly updates about our progress at
the West Point Foundry site in a column in the Putnam County News
& Recorder. Thanks for seeing us on the web and we look forward
to seeing you at the foundry sometime soon.