Stirling Ironworks in Ruin

Stirling Ironworks in Ruin 

The dense woods which compose the shorelines of Stirling Lake in rural New York are home to more than just picturesque forestry and wildlife. Herein can be found numerous overgrown ruins, and though present day shows them as mere dilapidated collections of moss-covered stones, what once stood here shaped the landscape of not just the state of New York, but the nation as a whole. These scattered bits of debris are all that hint to the long passed existence of the Stirling Ironworks, which operated from 1761 until 1842. When first opened, these ironworks ushered in an era of iron and steel manufacturing for the United States, having been one of the first plants in all the country. Equally important however, it was from these very furnaces which George Washington commissioned the fabrication of the Hudson River Chain – a massive chain which spanned the Hudson river from West Point to Constitution Island, blocking the British fleet from being able to access the waterway for the duration of the American Revolutionary War. 

The woods have long since stretched themselves back across the land which the ironworks and associated mines had ravaged ages ago. All is once again green here, but hidden throughout the foliage are constant reminders, proclaiming that things were not always so quiet and serene. Long abandoned mines, slowly filling with water, stretch themselves out into the blackness of the earth. Crumbling stonework walls emerge from, and return to nowhere. Small foundations pit the forest, footprints to homes last used over a century ago. The past wafts through these woods riding on cool lake winds.


Thomas Edison inspecting a kiln.

Looking skyward from within a decaying kiln.

The furnace, as it were in 1950.

The same furnace today.