Milling About

An old gunpowder mill fires up Orange County history buffs



gunpowder millDo you know this Hudson Valley landmark?

Where in the Hudson Valley...?

Residents and passersby alike have long appreciated the scenic landscape at this historic park, which is dotted with century-old stone buildings that evoke a sense of wonderment. The structures are actually part of what was once a thriving gunpowder mill complex.
Located on the outskirts of an Orange County city with a history-rich past (hint: a famous general had his headquarters there in the late 1700s), 14 of the mill’s original stone buildings still stand amid the park’s baseball fields and woodland trails (although many are crumbling, and some have been defaced by graffiti).

Built by Asa Taylor in 1816, the mill stretched across more than 40 acres. It produced gunpowder mainly for locals to use, but higher quality powders were also manufactured here and distributed to soldiers fighting in the Civil War. Production ended in the early 1900s, as the surrounding area became more residential. Not long after, Colonel Frederic Delano (FDR’s uncle) bought the land and transformed it into a public park to be given over to the city (although its location is just outside the city limits). In the late 1970s, maintenance costs were higher than the municipality could handle, and the site was sold to the county.

The park and its stone buildings were officially added to the National Registry of Historic Places in 1997; visitors can read about its history on small signs that line a path running parallel to where most of the structures stand.

Think you know where to find this aged edifice? Write your answer (name of the park, and its adjacent city) as a comment in the box below. The first reader who gets it right wins a prize. Good luck!

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