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Mar 21

Spring in Cold Spring: Foundry Preserve Awaits Your Visit!

A reproduction of the gun platform at WPFP serves also as an informational kiosk. Photo from scenichudson.org

For the last ten years or so, living in Cold Spring, I’d find myself in need of some scenery from time to time without committing to a strenuous hike. Walking distance from my doorstep was Foundry Cove— a wildlife sanctuary situated on and around a Hudson River inlet, the shores of which were dotted with scattered ruins and other remains of the once thriving West Point Foundry. This ironworks facility operated for almost the entire 19th century, manufacturing locomotives, water piping, and most famously, the Parrott cannon used by the Union during the Civil War.

During the years of my visits, as I stepped my way through the uneven terrain of these neglected acres, more and more of it seemed to be crumbling or disappearing altogether. I used to take Deborah back to one section where a large shabby teepee protected a period wooden artifact from the elements, and tell her it was our new house. Little did I know at the time, there was a greater effort underway, launched by Scenic Hudson, to preserve and restore the history of this nearly forgotten site, and even recreate some of the machinery operated by the workers who transformed tiny 1860s Cold Spring into a booming river town.

A view of the old cannon foundry and Foundry Brook, as they appeared before the reconstruction. That teepee I mentioned is at the right.

In the autumn of 2013, the project was completed, and the ribbon was cut on a park newly named WPFP, or West Point Foundry Preserve. Funded by local businesses, government sources, and residents with a passion for the region, the park now features well-groomed pathways and stairways that guide visitors through a labyrinth of defunct 19th century railroad lines.

Photo from philipstown.info

Along the walk, modern sculptures, original foundations, and partial reconstructions emerge, including a large water wheel that once powered a boring mill. Numerous interpretative kiosks lay out the literal and photographic history of the foundry before your eyes, and are backed up by an optional audio tour system. Benches, picnic tables and restrooms are available, and there’s even a designated parking area. Views of the river inlet, Storm King Mountain, and West Point are all part of the package, and Foundry Brook roars through the center of it all.

Whether you’re into exploring ruins, or simply in the mood for a striking change of scenery, WPFP is another excuse to visit charming Cold Spring, any time of year. Pack a lunch, the kids, and the dog, and make a bee-line for the site. Your visit is free of charge. FYI: If you’re arriving by train, get off at Cold Spring. The south entrance to the preserve begins right at the south side of the station platform! Be sure to send us photos of and comments on your visit.

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