During the Civil War, cannons known as Parrott guns were produced at the West Point Foundry in Cold Spring, N.Y. The cannons were popular for their accuracy, the distance a projectile could be fired from them and the heavy loads they could handle. On June 24, 1862, President Abraham Lincoln visited the factory on the Hudson River and watched as Parrott’s rifled cannons fired 100- and 200-pound charges several times, according to a local historian’s account. The next morning he inspected the damage done to the Parrott target located north of the foundry.
The foundry, closed in 1911 and then abandoned, was rescued from obscurity in 2006, when the environmental-preservation group Scenic Hudson purchased the ruined buildings and 87 acres that surrounded them. Last week, the West Point Foundry Preserve opened to the public, providing a combination of an outdoor industrial museum and several miles of hiking trails. According to the group’s Web site, the trails follow “old rail beds and pass the extensive remains of the casting house, boring mill and other essential foundry structures that led to the preserve’s inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places.”
Scenic Hudson offers an audiovisual tour of the Preserve at http://www.foundrytour.org.