"In the field" railroad history adventures...

Friday, December 7, 2018

South Troy - Upper Burden Iron Works

Being intrigued by the vastness of the ruins of the Burden Iron Works I explored yesterday, I decided to return to South Troy on my way back home today and try to sniff out some of the Upper Burden Iron Works along the Wynants Kill.

I decided to warm up downtown with a pub lunch - the local Irish Stout - Rare Form Fudge Fantasy was pretty good!
Another example of the wonderful old ornate building in Troy 
"Pills and Granules"
Now that's medicine!

I then drove over to Burden Pond to try to find vestiges of the old factories, etc. Sadly it wasn’t as productive as yesterday :-( Was it the 2nd Stout or the ridiculously cold nasty wind?.

I made my way down the Wynants Kill from the Burden Pond Dam and did manage to see a few ruins tucked away along the edge of the river.
Burden Pond Dam
The Wynants Kill descends rapidly and parallels Mill Rd.
“Smart Pond Dam*”
* The site helped explain a bit of what I saw.
(See Narrows site photo in comparison)

Once I parked near the Burden Ave Bridge at the Speedway Gas Station and looked up river, I saw what little is left of the Iron Works...
Old Foundation walls highlighted
Wall, Overhead Pipe, etc.
Can't miss this!!! 

Looking west (downstream of the bridge)
The maps I found online were confusing but an explanation on Hoxsie straightened this out:
"The Wynantskill has been straightened out a bit, with the removal of that oxbow on which much of the works was built. Burden's Pond remains, as does the Woodside church just above the Oxbow. Factory buildings once lined the kill, but barely a trace of them remains today."
The blue arch indicates the approximate old route of the kill
(see map below)
Arrow Points North!!

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Troy NY and the Burden Iron Works

On a weekday visit upstate to check on my mother I decided to take an excursion into Troy rather than mountain bike as the weather turned cloudy and gray.

Troy has been on a major revival for a couple of years now - when growing up (quite few years back now!!) I remember it was pretty funky!

River Road

I kicked off my tour at a charming little Lebanese Restaurant on River Road in the Antiques district. Its a family-run business and the owner was extremely gracious and sweet!

Pleasant colorful cafes and art galleries have revitalized the charming brownstones and there’s a wonderful sense of a respect for history here.

Down at the waterfront, the backsides of the buildings hinted at their former industrial and commercial origins.
Note - Missing Stairway?

The Uncle Sam Bikeway thru this section is very urban and seems to be still under construction.

There are Hudson River tour boats moored here as well.

My drive around downtown revealed an amazing amount of stunning historical brick and stone architecture.

Relics of its Railroad past

"Through much of the 19th and into the early 20th century, Troy was not only one of the most prosperous cities in New York State, but one of the most prosperous cities in the entire country. Troy's one-time great wealth was produced in the steel industry. When the iron and steel industry moved west to Pennsylvania and beyond, Troy's prosperity began to fade." -Wikipedia
Be sure to click for a close up
Lastly, after driving thru South Troy and noting the relics of former industry...
Getting refurbished or ready for demolition?
Foundations of a former large factory
Looks like an old Freight House
End of track going north but back as late as 1950, it continued on northward
Still active industry
Good for the rails or the road!

Burden Iron Works Museum

...I checked out the Burden Iron Works Museum. I was lucky enough to catch the director Michael P. Barrett just about to leave who graciously gave me a ten minute whirlwind tour. It was amazing!!

Who knew that so many complex iron items are were made in Troy?!  South Troy made:

  • the most powerful vertical water wheel in history
  • the modern horseshoe, made at the rate of nearly a million a week
  • the lion’s share of the bells cast in the New World
  • and much, much more...

Outside in the museum's yard were more impressive relics...

Remnants of the Burden Iron Works

This photo--taken inside the museum (hence the reflections on the glass)--shows the extent of the Burden Iron Works back in its heyday.

Here's what's left :-(...

Leaving Troy - Green Island

From the old to the new - the bridge to Green Island was impressive!
Ah - it warms the heart to see an old freight station preserved and being reused for something else!
Green Island Freight House - Historical Photo > 

Monday, December 3, 2018

Lunch Hour - Quickie on the High Line

Now that I work in the area, its a short walk to get on the High Line so I decided to revisit it on Monday.  Back in 2016 I had a great visit and documented my trek here.

Unfortunately it was a cloudy and windy day… but I did the loop starting from 30th Street

Here's where I got on at 30th Street.
A short walk takes to you to the train yards.
 The signage was great and keeps visitors informed of its important railroad history.
Vestiges of the track are "reverently" kept to see...
The new skyscrapers going up are so huge it took four shots to captue in all.
The crazy looking ribcage at the bottom is actually a walking track. In mid-November, I posted re that weird thing > Close Up Photo

I finished up 34th Street and snapped this informative map.

Later that day -- on my commute home -- I wandered thru Bryant Park - it was all abuzz with Christmas...