Open Space Institute Announces Plans for "Dockside" Property

Photo Credit: Jerry Monkman
Open Space Institute Announces Plans for “Dockside” Property

New York, NY - October 27, 2003 - The Open Space Institute, a non-profit land conservation organization that has protected tens of thousands of acres in New York's Hudson Highlands, has announced plans for Dockside, its 26.5-acre Hudson River property in the Village of Cold Spring, N.Y.

Plans for the property include the demolition of the Northgate at Dockside Restaurant, scheduled for this week, and subsequently, historic interpretation, wetland restoration, enhancement of river access, and significant park improvements. According to OSI president Joe Martens, the organization acquired the property in 1999 because of its promise of river access and its unparalleled views of Storm King Mountain and the surrounding Hudson Highlands. OSI acquired the property from the Hudson River Foundation, which bought it to stop a controversial development proposal in the 1980s. “If not for the Hudson River Foundation, this property could have been paved over and built upon, robbing the community of a vital link to Cold Spring history and one of the most scenic and tranquil settings along the Hudson River,” said Martens.

The first step in the restoration of this property will be the demolition of Dockside Restaurant. Although many people in the community have expressed an interest in seeing Dockside maintained, the restaurant, no longer in operation, was not profitable. The restaurant is also in extremely poor condition, creating a safety hazard. Following its demolition, OSI plans to meet with the Village Planning Board to discuss site improvements that OSI would like to undertake, including landscaping, park benches, a gazebo or pavilion, and riparian restoration. OSI is also considering the construction of a modest building on site that could be used for public purposes.

According to Martens, the Dockside property is one of just a few sites in the area that provides direct access to the Hudson River. The site is a logical put-in spot for non-motorized boats. Due to limited parking and access down Cold Spring's busy Main Street, the site is not suitable as a motorized boat-launching site.

The Village of Cold Spring is steeped in history and many monuments serve as historical markers, including the West Point Foundry, the Chapel of Our Lady, and the Colonial and Victorian architectural styles found throughout the Village. The Dockside property, explained Martens, provides a window into the experiences of early Dutch explorers whose attempts to sail through the Highlands section of the Hudson River were challenged by treacherous winds. The term Northgate evolved from "Wey Gat" (Wind Gate). The Northgate property played a role in the industrial heyday of Cold Spring; OSI has obtained a photo of a blast furnace on the property that was used by a mining company in the late 1880s. In recent history, the 17-year battle to protect Storm King Mountain, best viewed from the Dockside property, was one of the most important environmental battles in U.S. history. OSI's interpretation goal is to highlight the site's, and the Village's, rich history.

The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation has awarded OSI a $100,588 grant for park improvements at Dockside and the Department of Environmental Conservation has awarded OSI an $18,000 grant for a wetland restoration feasibility study.

For more information,
please call Tildy La Farge at 212-629-3981, xtn. 224.

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West Point Iron Company, incorporated in 1866, operated on what is now OSI's "Dockside" property.

"Dockside" Today


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. OSI has obtained early photos of the West Point Iron Company.

Click here for historic information on OSI's "Dockside" property.

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