New York Trap Rock

Conveyor and hopper (?) ruin, July 9, 2004.

    The trap rock industry has long owned large pieces of property along the Hudson River Although quarrymen have blasted away at the hills above the Hudson since the time of colonization by European arrivals, it was not until the late 19th-century that truly large-scale destruction of the shoreline became commonplace. Although not the name of a specific type of rock, one definition connects "trap" rock to a Dutch word meaning steps; Dutch colonists thought the Palisades would like look a giant staircase if turned on end. 

    The trap rock companies quarried for limestone and dolomite, which were crushed mainly for use in roadways. The New York Times reported that 1954 was a banner year for the industry, with the construction of the New York State Thruway as a major source of demand. Local entities with names like Upper Hudson Stone Company, Pulverized Limestone Company, and others once owned these sites, eventually all overtaken under the umbrella of New York Trap Rock. New York Trap Rock no longer exists, and a modern industry giant named Tilcon owns many of the active quarries, including those in Rockland and at Clinton Point in Poughkeepsie.
     The famous quarries that sparked the preservation of the New Jersey Palisades were shut down over century ago, and the Rockland Lake-area quarries followed out the door by the 1920s. Across the Hudson, at Cold Spring, quarrying was done in by the middle of the 20th-century and the land was set aside as parkland. The Ulster County site shown here ceased operation in the mid-1970s. The beauty and resilience of nature in the face of industry-induced change can be admired today. Colorful meadows occupy the ground floor of the quarry site, where scarred cliffs of rock loom above. Most of the industrial works have been removed, but an old conveyor juts  into the Hudson, and the ruins of what may be a hopper stand next to even older lime kiln.


February 2008

    Right now we are in the process of reclaiming huge chunks of riverfront land from industrial use, a process being celebrated up and down the Hudson Valley. If these vast parcels were to be reindustrialized, neighbors would object, but no one much seems to oppose using these sites for massive residential developments, ignorant of the vast impacts that  necessary utilities and automobiles would have on the local environment. Although these new developments tout the connection to the river, one hardly feels welcome hanging out in someone else's front yard. So much for getting people back to river - these sites will only benefit those wealthy enough to afford to live there, which is to say, usually not those who already live nearby. I rather like it now, when the old industrial sites are returned to a natural state and quietly accessible, before we destroy these properties again. 

The ancient kiln.

February 2008



Hudson Valley Ruins and Abandoned Buildings, etc.

Yaz’ Hudson Valley Ruins and Abandoned Buildings, etc.

E-mail Rob Yasinsac

This page and all photographs copyright © 2008 by Robert J. Yasinsac. These photographs are posted for private, non-commercial viewing purposes only. All other uses prohibited. All rights reserved.