Factory cast da Vinci’s horse, Statue of Liberty torch

The former Tallix Foundry building in Beacon, which drew international attention 25 years ago when it produced a 24-foot bronze horse meant to fulfill Leonardo da Vinci’s dying wish, is for sale.

The nearly 17,000-square-foot building is listed for $1.995 million. It’s also available as a rental for $18,000 per month.

The site is being marketed by Daniel Aubry, a Beacon real estate agent who in 2017 brokered the sale of the Tioronda Estate, the home of the former Craig House psychiatric hospital, for $5.5 million. Advertising materials suggest the foundry building, at 310 Fishkill Ave., might be suitable for cannabis cultivation, as an artist’s studio, a brewery or a rock-climbing gym.

Opened in 1970 in Cold Spring by Dick Polich, who died in 2022 at age 90, the foundry was once the world’s largest metal-casting facility. As demand grew, Polich moved the foundry to Peekskill and, in 1986, to Beacon.

Tallix displayed the horse in Beacon in 1999 before shipping it to Italy. Beacon Historical Society
Tallix displayed the horse in Beacon in 1999 before shipping it to Italy.
(Beacon Historical Society)

The story of its most notable work began in 1978, when Charlie Dent, a United Airlines pilot from Pennsylvania, read in National Geographic about da Vinci’s unfulfilled vision of a monumental bronze horse — one the artist was commissioned to create by Duke Ludovico Sforza of Milan, Italy, in 1498.

Before his death, da Vinci only created a clay model of the horse, and that was destroyed by invading French soldiers in 1499. It is said that the sculptor wept on his deathbed because he had been unable to complete the project.

After reading about da Vinci, Dent, an amateur sculptor, “said, ‘Let’s give Leonardo his horse,’ ” said Lee Balter, the former owner of Tallix. So Dent established a foundation to raise money to complete da Vinci’s work as a gift for the people of Milan.

In 2003 Tallix cast Louise Bourgeois' 32-foot-tall "Maman" spider sculpture, which wasinstalled in Tokyo.
In 2003 Tallix cast Louise Bourgeois’ 32-foot-tall “Maman” spider sculpture, which was installed in Tokyo. (Polich Tallix)

Before his death in 1994, Dent contracted the Tallix Foundry for the job. “There weren’t many places that could accommodate building the horse under a roof,” said Peter Homestead, the president of Tallix from 1997 to 2004.

Da Vinci’s (and Dent’s) horse was unveiled in Beacon in 1999. Traffic to get to the city backed up on Interstate 84 to the Taconic State Parkway, “which hadn’t been done since Woodstock,” said Homestead. “Every press was there. They shot The Today Show live. Everybody got a piece of it.”

Andrew Revkin, a former Philipstown resident who at the time was a reporter for The New York Times, described it in a story as a “proudly prancing 15-ton bronze stallion” that had been cast to da Vinci’s specifications. A week later, the horse was disassembled and flown in seven cargo planes to Milan, where it is displayed at San Siro Hippodrome Cultural Park, a horse-racing venue.

The Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park in Grand Rapids, Michigan, contacted Tallix to request a sister horse. That was also cast at the foundry and “certainly helped to finance building” both sculptures, Homestead said.

Artisans at Tallix also worked on the restoration of the Statue of Liberty’s torch, which had been damaged in 1916 by German saboteurs.

The foundry closed in Beacon in 2005 but reopened as Urban Art Projects + Polich Tallix in Newburgh. The Beacon building has since been used primarily for storage.

Behind The Story

Type: News

News: Based on facts, either observed and verified directly by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.


In an earlier version of this story, we stated that Tallix cast the 176 bronze panels that surround the two reflecting pools at the 9/11 Memorial & Museum in New York City. But Chris Powers, who worked at Tallix for 20 years before starting KC Fabrications in Gardiner in 2006, said his firm created the panels using a technology that uses plate instead of casting, “saving time and money. To this day, we still proudly work at the memorial, assisting on names panels and other projects, as well.”

Simms has covered Beacon for The Current since 2015. He studied journalism at Appalachian State University and has reported for newspapers in North Carolina and Maryland. Location: Beacon. Languages: English. Area of expertise: Beacon politics

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