Mix a bit of history, a bit of nature, and make a wonderful walk. West Point Foundry Preserve [80 Kemble Ave, Cold Spring, NY 10516] is low key park amongst many popular trails, a must see for those who are interested in American history.
As you hike stop by and read the panels, assess the ruins, and learn about the foundry established in 1818.
President James Madison realized the importance of heavy artillery. Cold Spring was a perfect location for a foundry because of its closeness to sources of iron ore and its hardwood forests could supply charcoal. From the Industrial Revolution into the Civil War the foundry created a critical output of resources. Some of the first steam engines were produced on the land and many of the pipes for NYC’s water system. Follow the cascades in the Foundry Brook, scenic and significant.
In the woods there is a full-scale sculptural model of the water wheel which powered the boring bill.
Battery pond looked more as though it was leaning towards becoming a marsh, but during the Civil War it was a reservoir holding recycled water from the foundry supplying the water wheel, providing power before electricity. The 110’ drop through the ravine supplied the boring mill water wheel 75 horsepower through a network of gears, pulleys, and belts. There is another replica, a gun platform.
The Parrott gun used extensively during the Civil War was invented at the foundry by a West Point graduate – Captain Rober Parker Parrott. As the sun was going down, this was a very peaceful place to walk – such a contrast from the action the area once saw.
After the civil war, the foundry declined because of the emergence of steel industry. In 1911 it closed and was abandoned. The preserve is easily accessible by a .5 mile trail from Cold Spring’s Metro-North Station. In total there are under three miles of trails within the park boundaries.