Life on the Hudson: A Day in Cold Spring

Date: May 1, 2010

Location: various in Cold Spring
Contact Hours: 7.5 [this can be combined with other IHARE programs for teachers needing 15]
Time: 9:00-5:30
Cost: $50 [includes lunch]
Click here for registration form

The Hudson River is an interdisciplinary classroom. In a continuing effort to bring the riches of the Hudson River experience to the classroom, this program focuses on the life a single community, Cold Spring. Every time period taught under New York State Social Studies standards can be found locally if one makes the effort to look and this one-day program will examine the art, ecology, literature, history, and politics of a single community now seeking to define its place in the global world of the 21st century.

9:00 Constitution Island
Meet at Cold Spring train station

Constitution Island is part of West Point, the United States Military Academy, a National Registered Landmark. The Island is most famous for the Great Chain that was placed across the Hudson during the Revolutionary War and the Warner family who lived on the Island during the 19th century. The Warner House and ruins of the Revolutionary War fortifications are the primary points of interest. The Island’s 280 acres are covered with hiking trails that are enjoyed by the Island’s visitors. The Constitution Island Association was founded in 1916 to preserve and protect the history and traditions of this unique American site.

Meet with Executive Director Richard DeKoster

11:15 Cold Spring Heritage Walk

A guided walk along the historic main street of the community. In addition to the sights, stops will be made to meet with the proprietors of stores in the Cold Spring Merchants Association who will discuss the economics of a small store in an online and box store world where the village’s lone book store recently closed.

12:30 Lunch Depot Restaurant
1 Depot Square

Relax overlooking the Hudson River while owner Tom Rolston continues the discussion of defining a community and the role of the train in it.

1:30 Putnam County Historical Society and Foundry Museum
63 Chestnut Street

The Putnam County Historical Society was founded in 1906 by a group of prominent Philipstown residents and chartered the next year to be the first historical society in the county. Its dedicated early members were prominent Cold Spring residents: A. Augustus Healy, Gouverneur Paulding, William Henry Haldane, Robert Floyd-Jones, and William Wood. Galvanized by the desire to collect and preserve historical and cultural materials pertaining to Putnam County, especially the Philipstown area, and the Hudson Highlands, while both looking back to the nineteenth century and forward into the twentieth, the members initially concentrated on the assemblage of information related to many county families, the compilation of a list of local Civil War veterans, and a study of the milestones on the Putnam County segment of the New York to Albany Post Road. During these early years, the members met in private homes, where objects collected by the society were stored, as well as in libraries, where special programs were held.

In 1960, with funds from the estate of a longtime supporter, the noted writer Laura Spencer Porter Pope (1907–1957), the society acquired the Foundry School building, which was built in about 1830, enlarged in the 1860s, and used for the education of the foundry’s teenage apprentices as well as its employees’ children. In 1971, a wing was added to house the society’s holdings related to the West Point Foundry. Since the establishment of this museum, the society’s members, many of them extraordinarily informed about the history of the Highlands and the county, have continued to dedicate their time and talents as docents, researchers, and educators.

The West Point Foundry, currently owned and run by Scenic Hudson, was a functioning factory from 1818-1911 and was a hub of the Industrial Revolution. It produced steam engines, water wheels and most importantly, the Parrott Gun used during the Civil War, which is basically a small cannon. Abraham Lincoln visited the site in 1862 to check out its firepower (and you can stand where he probably watched a demonstration), and Jules Verne even mentions the site in the 1865 book “From the Earth to the Moon.”

We will tour the archaeological ruins of the Foundry, see the exhibits of the Museum, and discuss the education programs of the historical society and museum on bringing local history into the classroom.

3:30 Hudson River Art Walk
Little Stony Point Park
3011 Rt. 9D

Local resident and renowned painter Don Nice will lead a walk through NYS Little Stony Point Park and share his own artistic perspective of the breathtaking Hudson River vistas.

For further information contact IHARE at 914-939-9071 or email us at: