At the end of May the Friends of Taconic State Park will see their hard work pay off with the opening of a new museum, Copake Iron Works. The Friends have been raising significant funds for the park since 2008. This museum adds to their impressive list of accomplishments.
Opened in 1845, the Copake Iron Works operated until some point between 1903 and 1908. Believed to be opened by Lemuel Pomeroy after moving from Pittsfield, Massachusetts, the iron works was owned by the Livingston Family. Pomeroy was first an apprentice in Ancram before moving to Copake; the Ancram iron works closed by 1850.
Very few written records exist from the Copake Iron Works. The craft was learned by experience with problem-solving on the job. While running, the iron works wheeled in 5,000 tons of iron ore each year from surrounding towns, before the New York Harlem Railroad was in the area.
The furnace still on site was not the original but build in 1872, is still a treasure. Also in the museum lay a range of iron artifacts from plow parts to chisels and unknown objects. Each of these have been catalogued by the historic society and will be on display at the museum come May.
Since their establishment in 2008, the Friends of Taconic State Park have raised over $150,000 towards their goal of preserving the historic Copake Iron Works. A large accomplishment prior to the museum’s opening was the design and construction of a cover for the Copake Blast Iron Furnace, a 19th century treasure built of limestone, firebrick, brick and mortar. The cover is just a step in their long-range goal to preserve the historic Copake Iron Works.