COLD SPRING, Putnam County (90 acres) — The murmur of Foundry Brook will accompany your walk through the preserve — a far cry from the din greeting 19th-century visitors to the ironworks that manufactured some of America’s first steam engines, locomotives, pipes for New York City’s water system and cannons that helped win the Civil War. Trails pass remains of foundry buildings and interpretive features that tell the story of the site’s contribution to the Industrial Revolution and the Civil War, as well as the land’s astonishing ecological renewal. It’s a great place to escape life’s background noise while connecting with the valley’s past and its wildlife.
In 2021, the West Point Foundry Archeological Site, which includes foundry remains in this preserve and nearby Foundry Dock Park, was designated a National Historic Landmark, the federal government’s highest recognition for places that increase understanding of America’s past. At a ceremony celebrating this designation, Amy Bracewell, superintendent of the Roosevelt-Vanderbilt-Martin Van Buren National Historic Sites, stressed the importance of this honor:
“Today, fewer than 2,500 historic properties have been designated by the Secretary of the Interior as National Historic Landmarks. To refine that prestige even more — New York has more National Historic Landmark sites than any other state at 276 sites, which is about 10 percent of the national total. So through your hard work and dedication to getting this site designated, you have confirmed to the nation that the history here in New York has made some of the biggest influential impacts to the evolution of this country. You should all be very proud of this designation today, and the future preservation of such a special place.”
Free and open year-round, dawn to dusk.
Take a unique audiovisual tour of West Point Foundry Preserve — for optimal enjoyment, bring your headphones to listen when you’re on-site. And for more information about the foundry, visit the Putnam History Museum at 63 Chestnut Street, a short walk from the preserve. A permanent installation about the ironworks features artifacts, documents and art.