You cannot study Civil War artillery without at least some time spent considering the work of Robert P. Parrott and the products of West Point Foundry. The foundry produced over 2,500 cannon and 3 million projectiles, most of which fed into the Federal war effort. I’d argue the foundry site is equally important as some battlefield sites, when you consider the use of that ordnance in the war.
Earlier this year Scenic Hudson announced the re-opening of the West Point Foundry Preserve on the site of the West Point Foundry in Cold Springs, New York. The 87-acre preserve features a trail system, interpretive markers, and several exhibits. Highlights along the trails include sites of the foundry’s flume, blacksmith shop, water wheel, boring mill, casting shop, pattern shop, pattern storage, carpentry shop, gun proofing platform, and foundry office. The foundry’s blast furnace is also within the preserve, but I’m not sure if it is accessible through the trail system. The proofing platform site is particularly interesting, with a reproduction of the spotting tower.
The re-opening also included the introduction of a web-based audio-visual tour of the site. The tour application is optimized for use on mobile devices. The tour also references nearby sites associated with the foundry including the Foundry Dock (also a Scenic Hudson park), the Chapel Restoration, worker houses and shops on Main Street, and the Putnam History Museum.
I’m planning a road trip in the near future!
Hat tip to Mark Forlow, co-author of West Point Foundry, of the Images of America series, due out early next year.