Cortlandt Furnace

Cortlandt-furnace

A photo of the Cortlandt Furnace on Furnace Brook—though by the time this photo was taken it had long since ceased to be used as an iron furnace.

Here is an account of the furnace from Robert Bolton’s History of Westchester, published in 1848:

“In the vicinity of Boscobel house is situated the small hamlet and landing of Crugers, a name derived from the Cruger family, who have long possessed estates in the immediate neighborhood.

A small mountain stream enters the Hudson at this place called the Mill brook, upon which stood the manorial mills long since superseded by Ramsay’s mill. Above Crugers, crowning the bold banks of the mountain torrent, is situated the Cortlandt furnace which has given name to an extensive tract of forest (consisting of 1500 acres) called the furnace woods.

In the year 1760 a mining company was established in England, and German miners employed for the purpose of obtaining and smelting iron ore in this vicinity. It would appear, however, that the ore was not found here in sufficient abundance, for, at a vast expense, we find it subsequently transported from the Queensbury mine, in the forest of Dean, Rockland county, (by the route of King’s ferry) and smelted in this furnace.

But even in Rockland County the ore was not found in sufficient quantities to render it of any importance, so that prior to the Revolution the enterprise was wholly abandoned, and the property sold to Mr. John Ramsay whose daughter married John Cruger, father of Nicholas the present proprietor of the furnace woods. Mr. Benjamin Odell occupies the Ramsay residence and mill. The Cruger mansion is delightfully situated near the landing commanding from its elevated position, most extensive views of the river. The present occupant is the Hon. Nicholas Cruger who for several years represented this County in assembly.”

Here is additional information from the historic property listings the Westchester County Historical Society has compiled on their website. Sadly, they note that although the site is “archaeologically significant as site of eighteenth century iron furnace and a much later (19th-20th century) grist mill. . . . all buildings associated with either venture are now long gone.”


Property Cortlandt Furnace
Municipality Cortlandt
Community
Street Number
Street Address Off Furnace Dock Road

Historic District Name
Local Landmark Status? Yes  05/21/92
Local Landmark District Status?
National Register District Status?
County Register Status?
National Register Status?
National Historic Landmark Status?
National Historic Landmark District Status?
State Register Status?
Eligible for National Register?

Owner Mario Velardo
Institutional Owner Mario Development Corp
Tax Map Available?
Tax Map Image Available?
Tax Section       Tax Block       Tax Lot

Architect unknown
Builder unknown
Building Type Industrial: iron furnace and mill complex
Building Type, Details
Architectural Style NA
Architectural Style, Details
Current Use
Current Use, Details woodlands
Original Use
Original Use, Details iron furnace; later grist mill (1860s-)
Structural Condition Deteriorated
Neighborhood Residential
Threats to Building Possible development of property
Site Integrity Original Site
Date Moved
Year Built c.1765-1766
Structural System NA
Structural System, Details
Photograph Available? Yes
Alterations NA, all buildings gone
Date of Alterations

Significance Archaeologically significant as site of eighteenth century iron furnace and a much later (19th-20th century) grist mill. However, all buildings associated with either venture are now long gone.
Description Cortlandt furnace was one of many iron extraction and founding ventures established in Westchester County during the 18th and 19th centuries. Located just off Furnace Brook Road in the Town of Cortlandt, it was situated on the present Furnace Brook which was damed to provide water for the manufactory. The furnace was built, c. 1765-1766, by Peter Hasenclever, a German iron master. The site was considered good as it lay within a half mile of the Hudson River, allowing easy shipment of the product. However, the iron ore proved inadequate, and the furnace was shut down sometime before the Revolutionary War. Before 1800 a grist mill was located on the site, its buildings apparently built, at least in part, of stones scavanged from the furnace ruins. This business also was gone by 1879, and the area now is wooded and overgrown with only foundation stones and walls to mark the location of the furnace and mill. For further information see files maintained by the Westchester County Historical Society.

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