"In the field" railroad history adventures...

Friday, August 25, 2023

Wallkill Valley Rail Trail

After my wet ride on the Ashokan Rail Trail yesterday--today I traveled over to Rosendale and rode a bit of the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail. A 150 foot tall trestle, huge abandoned kiln ruins and a myriad of mining caves made it an interesting morning!

The Rosendale Trestle

Before riding the trail, I drove underneath it!

Parking Lot - Cement Kilns

You park at the site of former cement kilns - wow - this was cool!

The Bike Ride

At the "ColdSpot"
The video is a good quick summary of the ride.
Note: I did ride my bike across the trestle but decided NOT to do a one-handed video. The trestle was wet and I'd rather not be one-handed with a camera in front of my eyes... I simply stopped to take the photos.
Here's where I turned around...

On the way back...

I veered off the trail to ride by these granite cliffs - glad I was riding the mountain bike!
Ah... another rock cut!

Back Over the Trestle

The way back was just as fun!

Riding by the Kilns

The final circle back to the car :-)

The Rosendale Cement Industry 

Rosendale cement is a natural cement that was produced in and around Rosendale, New York, beginning in 1825. More than half of the 35 million tons of natural cement produced in the United States originated with cement rock mined in Ulster County, New York, in and around the Town of Rosendale.

The limestone deposits that were discovered in Rosendale were huge, being 22 feet deep, three miles wide and extending over seven miles towards Kingston. Eventually, there were 15 giant cement mills in the area producing millions of barrels of cement a year.

Rosendale cement was used in the construction of many of the United States' most important landmarks, including the Brooklyn Bridge, the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty, Federal Hall National Memorial, and the west wing of the United States Capitol building.

The Process

Producing Natural Rosendale cement begins with the calcination of crushed dolomite in large brick kilns, fired initially by wood and then by coal. The resulting clinker is ground into progressively smaller particles. Unlike Portland cement, Rosendale cement does not require mixing of chemical additives. Historically, this natural cement product was packaged in paper-lined wooden barrels weighing 300 lbs, or in heavy canvas bags.

Bn 1871, Portland cement technology finally came to the United States. By 1900, the Hudson Valley also had two operating Portland plants. Portland cement set very rapidly and was soon preferred over Rosendale cement for mortar. By  the 20th century, the demand for Rosendale natural cement dropped precipitously, while Portland cement rapidly became the most popular building material. 

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