Friends of Taconic State Park celebrated the opening of a Visitor Center at the Copake Ironworks on Saturday, June 16th.
Attending were members of the group’s Board of Directors and other supporters of the organization including the family of the late Frances R. Masters, Jr. in whose memory the Visitor Center was established, and Linda Cooper, Regional Director of the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation for the Taconic Region.
In remarks to the group, Ms. Cooper thanked the family for their interest and support and noted that Friends of Taconic State Park, together with Park Manager Chris Rickard and staff, have resurrected and preserved the Copake Iron Works, and achieved National Heritage Area designation for the site.
The new Visitor Center features an eight-minute video documentary entitled From Forest, to Iron Works, and Back Again: The Copake Iron Works Story which visually describes the ironmaking process and the history of the Copake Iron Works from 1845 to 1903. The video was produced by Fred Sutherland Ph.D., an authority on the site, and his production partner Alex Weston, a public historian and filmmaker from Saint Paul, Minnesota.
The Visitor Center, adjacent to the Iron Works Museum, includes a highly detailed diorama of the Town of Copake Iron Works (as it was known until the turn of the century) and extensive interpretative displays about Taconic State Park and the nearby Bash Bish Falls. The video documentary can also be viewed on YouTube by searching on its title or by clicking here.
The Copake Visitor Center is open year-round during daylight hours. The adjoining Iron Works museum is open from 2 to 4 pm on weekends from late May to mid-November, or by appointment. An interpreted trail from the Copake Iron Works to the Bash Bish Falls, for which trail maps are available, can also be enjoyed year-round.
Friends of Taconic State Park was established in 2008 to support cultural, recreational and educational activities within the park with the preservation of the historic Copake Iron Works site its priority. More information is available on their website. To schedule a private group tour, call (518) 966-2730 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo of Copake Visitor Center provided.