Crane hoists 5,000-pound structure into place
Scenic Hudson has reinstalled the 5,000-pound, 21-foot-tall cupola atop the historic Office Building at West Point Foundry Preserve and soon will add a replica of the original metal weathervane. A crane hoisted the six-sided wooden structure into place on the three-story bell tower, which is the only freestanding structure remaining from the foundry, which once filled the 87-acre site.
Southgate Steeplejacks of Barre, Vermont, restored the cupola, which was removed in 1998, and Sky Art Studios of Meriden, Connecticut, is fabricating the weathervane. Scenic Hudson plans to stabilize several walls and add a panel for Battery Pond, which provided water to power foundry machinery. The entire project cost $750,000, with the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation providing a $375,000 grant from the Environmental Protection Fund and Scenic Hudson supplying the remainder.
The work site around the Office Building will remain closed until all construction is completed in December. However, the foundry is open for self-guided tours, and for a free guided tour scheduled for 11 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 7. The preserve is located at 68 Kemble Ave. in Cold Spring.
The brick Italianate Office Building was constructed in 1865 to reflect the substantial profits—estimated at $40 million in today’s dollars—the foundry made supplying the Union Army with cannons during the Civil War. West Point Foundry also manufactured some of America’s first locomotives, steam engines, mill equipment and pipes for New York City’s water system. Scenic Hudson purchased the foundry site in 1996. For more information, visit foundrytour.org.
Time-lapse video courtesy Scenic Hudson