Mathews Nielsen Landscape Architects has broken ground on a $3.6M project to preserve and interpret the historic ruins of the West Point Foundry Preserve in the Village of Cold Spring, New York, transforming the venerable site into a park that respects and reveals its industrial and ecological history. Scenic Hudson, the largest environmental group focused on protecting and restoring the Hudson Valley, owns the preserve and commissioned Mathews Nielsen for the project, which is supported in part by a Preserve America grant.
Located on a dramatic 87-acre forested site that opens up to the geologic expanse of the Hudson River, the foundry is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Created at the request of President James Madison to address national armaments production following the War of 1812, the foundry operated between 1817 and 1911. It reached peak production during the Civil War and then contributed to the American Industrial Revolution.
Mathews Nielsen’s design aspiration for the new park is to stimulate both the mind and the senses by educating visitors about the foundry’s industrial significance while showcasing the natural beauty of the surrounding wetlands and forest. The firm’s sustainable plan was developed by working closely with a research team from Michigan Technological University’s Industrial History and Archaeology Program that, sponsored by Scenic Hudson, conducted eight years of research at the site. Historic paths and rail lines will be reinterpreted to connect building ruins and provide ADA access. Displays will educate visitors about the site’s past, and exhibits at Foundry Cove will highlight the renewal of the preserve’s marsh as well as its abundant wildlife. The park, scheduled to open in fall 2013, is one of more than 35 that Scenic Hudson has created or enhanced along the Hudson River.
“As leaders of a team that include wetland scientists, preservation architects, archeologists, exhibit designers, and engineers, our vision for this project is to convey not only the scale of the immense foundry and its workings, but to bring the sights, sounds and stories of the historic Village of Cold Spring to life,” says Mathews Nielsen Principal Kim Mathews. “Together with a committed client and dedicated Village advisors, we are now able to reveal a long buried history to visitors of all ages.”
IMAGES Courtesy of Mathews Nielsen Landscape Architects