Iron processing changed the shoreline of Port Henry. When the New York and Canada Railroad was built in 1874, the tracks hugged the lake. That same year, a modern blast furnace was built at Cedar Point, just beyond the train station. Eight blast furnaces had operated in various earlier locations throughout Moriah, but the Cedar Point Furnace was the first to rely on cheap rail transportation down from the mines and out to the world.
Over 45 years, Cedar Point Furnace increased production from 41 tons to 250 tons of pig iron per day. Two new furnaces, built in 1922, doubled that figure. By 1936, when Witherbee Sherman Company ceased production, waste tailings had extended the shoreline 1200 feet out into the lake. The Company had anticipated the need for tailings disposal when it bought land under the lake in 1872.
[Photo captions, from left to right, read]
· New Cedar Point Furnaces. Photograph courtesy of the Adirondack Museum, Blue Mountain Lake, NY.
· Stacks of pig iron await shipment in the furnace yard. In the background, the cantilever bridge crane loads sintered ore. Photograph courtesy of the Adirondack Museum.
· Thomas Witherbee supervised construction of the original Cedar Point Furnace and served as Ironmaster for more than a decade. He recorded his ideas for plant improvements in technical
papers for the American Institute of Mining Engineers. Detail, Bird's Eye View of Port Henry (1889), courtesy of the Town Historian.