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The landscape abundant forest and untamed waterpower that drew Gouverneur Kemble to open West Point Foundry in 1818 underwent dramatic changes over its decades of operations. The area's woodlands were denuded to produce charcoal for powering the furnaces. Foundry Brook was channelized into an intricate network of flumes, raceways and storage ponds that powered operations and regulated water flow through the site. It's hard to picture more than 1,000 workers filling this narrow ravine, laboring day and night in a large-scale industrial complex. After foundry operations ceased, the site's decay was gradual. Many above-ground remains were repurposed for building projects in the village, while invasive and non-native trees and other plants ultimately filled the mostly vacant site. Scenic Hudson removed tons of debris and reconstructed sections of stream banks to keep Foundry Brook within its historic channel, making it less likely to overflow and threaten foundry ruins.
( West Side Marker : )
Foundry Cove: Restoring & Protecting a Natural Treasure
An incomparable setting.
From a testing platform where you are standing, foundry cannons were fired across the river.
The nearby Marathon Battery Company, which made batteries for military and commercial uses, dumped massive amounts of heavy metals and waste into Foundry Cove, polluting river sediments and poisoning wildlife.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency declared Foundry Cove a Superfund site, initiating a $100-million cleanup dredging sediments and disposing of thousands of tons of contaminated soils.
Just prior to the EPA cleanup and restoration, archaeologists recovered 145,000 foundry-related artifacts.
Scenic Hudson purchased the 87-acre foundry property to ensure its permanent protection as a public resource for recreation and education.
Foundry Cove provides habitat for abundant wildlife and is a prime bird-watching and paddling destination.