November 26, 2017 – Arden, NY
Location: 21 Clove Furnace Drive – Arden, NY 10910
The Clove Furnace Ruin in Arden, NY was a longtime smelting site for iron ore mined from nearby veins in what is now Harriman State Park. It is located in Arden, NY, just east of the New York State Thruway, and can easily be seen from the highway. It was built in 1854 by Robert & Peter Parrott, who also owned and operated numerous mines in the area, known collectively as the Greenwood Iron Works. Together with the Greenwood Furnace (circa 1810), located roughly one half mile east of Clove, these two furnaces produced iron which supplied the Parrott’s West Point Foundry at Cold Spring, NY. The foundry produced the famous and highly effective Parrott Rifle (cannon) utilized by the Union army during the Civil War.
On my many travels on the New York State Thruway, I have passed this site and always wanted to stop and check it out. I wasn’t quite sure of its historical significance, but it seemed interesting enough to do a little research. Since I love to hike in Harriman State Park and visit the numerous mines that are scattered throughout the park, I thought it would be a good idea to include it here.
The primary difference between the original Greenwood Furnace and the newer Clove Furnace was that the latter used anthracite coal rather than charcoal as fuel. It was constructed of stone and measured 54 feet high, 37 feet square at the base and was open at the top.
The ore used in this furnace was mined primarily in the Greenwood group of mines, including the Black Ash Mine, Boston Mine, Hogencamp Mine, Pine Swamp Mine and Bradley Mine. Clove Furnace opened in 1854 and it produced 5,000 tons of iron by the following year.
The West Point Foundry at Cold Spring depended upon pig iron from Clove Furnace for the manufacture of gun barrels.
The famous Parrott Rifle, designed by Robert Parrott, was one of the most effective pieces of armament produced for the Union forces during the Civil War.
Clove Furnace continued producing high quality pig iron after the close of the Civil War. It gained fame for one continuous blast running from May 26, 1871 to June 14, 1881. During this period 101,245 gross tons of pig iron were produced.
Clove Furnace was finally closed down in 1885 when iron ore from the West became more economical. It was allowed to die out even though the furnace was still filled with coal and ore. The site of Clove Furnace today looks vastly different from the way it looked on that fateful day when it closed in 1885.
The 54-foot tall stack has been restored and is open to the public, along with the spillway and other buildings. There is also a museum onsite that details the nature of nineteenth century mining.
The site is also home to the Orange County Historical Society, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Source: Orange County Historical Society