COPAKE FALLS – Friends of Taconic State Park received two major gifts in support of its efforts to preserve and stabilize the historic Copake Iron Works located within Taconic State Park.
In June, the Friends group received a $25,000 challenge grant to help fund the cost of stabilizing the 19th century blast furnace which is considered to be the centerpiece of the site. The organization completed the construction of a protective cover for the blast furnace in late 2012 and immediately began work to save the structure’s four arches and interior which had been severely weakened by years of exposure to the elements.
The stabilization project will cost about $110,000. The group had raised approximately $60,000 of that amount when they learned that New York State parks champion Lucy R. Waletzky had made the $25,000 challenge to help fund the balance.
Every dollar raised, up to $25,000, will be matched by Dr. Waletzky. A fundraising drive is currently underway to raise the matching funds.
In late August, the group learned that an anonymous $50,000 grant had been made to fund the cost of rebuilding the brick walls and foundation of the engine house located across from the furnace. In making the gift, the anonymous donor noted that “the engine house repairs may not have the appeal of the furnace stabilization, but they are just as important to the site. I commend you for your commitment to the preservation of this historic treasure and hope my gift will serve as a catalyst for other grants to your organization.”
Ganem Contracting Corporation, specialists in the field of historic preservation of masonry structures, has been hired to carry out both projects.
Experts and authorities consider the Copake Iron Works, a national and state register listed historic site, to be an important and unique example of 19th century American industrial history, the preservation of which should begin at once.
Friends of Taconic State Park has mapped out a multi-phase, multi-year plan to preserve many structures at the site, including the so-called Link House, the last remaining workers’ residence still in original condition. The group also hopes to re-create the narrow gauge railroad that once circumnavigated the ironworks.
Friends of Taconic State Park was established in 2008 to promote recreational, historical, educational and cultural activities within the park. There are currently about 300 dues paid members of Friends of Taconic State Park. In addition to their preservation work, the group offers a full calendar of activities for park visitors. For more information visit www.FriendsofTSP.org or call 518 966-2730.