Photo Credit: Jerry Monkman

Dockside History

Early Dutch Explorers coined the term "Wey Gat" (Wind Gate), later interpreted as "Northgate." It is an apt definition of the area, which serves as a gate through which the Hudson River, at its deepest point, winds through a gorge. The Southern Gate is located near Anthony's nose.

The West Point Iron Company was incorporated in 1866 to "mine iron and other mineral substances, and smelting, and manufacturing iron." The company acquired the Dockside land and built a narrow gauge railroad to a location on the Philipstown Turnpike. An excerpt from the Nelson Scrapbook, dated 1894, describes mining activity: "One a few years ago its tall chimney belched forth great volumes of flame and smoke illuminating our water-front for a long distance on all sides as the darkness came on…"

According to Michael Bowman, a historian who works at the West Point Military Academy, a larger smoke stack approximately 100 feet tall was later constructed. "When I show early photographers to members of the community they are amazed that Cold Spring was the locale for industry of this scope. The photos clearly demonstrate that the iron company eclipsed other structures in the town at the time," said Bowman.

With magnificent views of the Hudson River and Storm King Mountain, the Dockside property was one of many key vantage points used by Hudson River School Painters who were intrigued by Storm King Mountain. Artists who painted Storm King include Thomas Cole, Sanford Gifford, Homer Dodge Martin and Samuel Colman. Storm King also inspired poets, one of whom wrote: "When the Storm King smites his thunderous gong Thy hills reply from many a bellowing wave; And when with smiles, the sun o'erlooks their brow, He sees no stream more beautiful thanthou."

According to Michael Bowman at West Point, the Dutch referred to Storm King as "Boterberg," translated later as "Butter Hill." "Butter Hill was later renamed in the 1880s when it became the subject of artistic renderings. Nathaniel Parker Willis suggested Storm King as a more evocative and romantic substitute to Butter Hill. And the name stuck," said Bowman.

In early 1964, the late Frances Reese, a founder of Scenic Hudson, led efforts to protect Storm King Mountain, the iconic landmark of the Hudson Highlands. With a handful of other citizens, she successfully battled Consolidated Edison and its plans to build a huge power plant into the side of a mountain that creates a magnificent gateway to the Hudson Valley. The 17-year environmental battle created 74 linear feet of documents now stored at Marist College. Reese's successful crusade is known today as the "Scenic Hudson Decision."

According to John Adams, the chairman of the Open Space Institute and the president and founder of the Natural Resources Defense Council, the legal battle to save Storm King Mountain was the precursor to a major branch of American jurisprudence. "The practitioners of this jurisprudence meet their 'clients' every time they step outdoors. Our forests and rivers and wetlands enjoy legal representation by public interest attorneys who use America's environmental statutes and legal precedents to advocate for clean air and water. And in large part, we have the seminal battle to save Storm King to thank," said Adams.


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