Back in May, Darren and I spent a hot afternoon exploring an old cement factory near Kingston, NY. According to the studious people at hudsonvalleyruins.org, this plant dates back to the 50’s, when the Hudson Cement Factory decided to exploit vast limestone deposits in this 300-acre site. It was previously occupied by brick yards which went out of business like numerous others by World War II. Many of these white silos, up to 300 feet tall, appeared along the Hudson River when the cement business started to pick up. The Hudson Cement Factory near Kingston finally shutdown in the early 80’s as the industry declined locally. These towering structures overlooking the Hudson River are still intact today.
More photos below. Click on any of the thumbnails to open a larger view, or check the full-screen Flickr slideshow if you have Flash installed.
I rather liked this site, it was a good change of pace from our usual cramped and dusty hallways. I found it really dry, barren in an elegant way. It had a sharp feeling to it, reinforced by the long, simple lines of the silos and the steel beams still standing nearby. The bright sunlight and surprisingly scorching heat that day made this scenery even more arid. It wasn’t as historical a site as some of the locations we had visited before, but it certainly had seen a lot of activity and an important slice of the post-WWII industrial boom.
Unsurprisingly, the place is now a large playground for graffiti artists. I salute the kid who was foolish enough to hang from the top of the silos to leave his unrefined mark. There is an old mule barn nearby that had been converted info offices, but not much to be found there except for the usual dead bird and lost teddy bear. The silos can be explored as well and provide some welcome shade. There is a Ladder of Death leading to the top of these towers, though nothing worth the risk considering the distance to our car, the nearest hospital and my respect for universal gravitation.
We spent some time trying to capture the sheer size of the plant, looking for higher ground. We finally climbed on top of a hill, took a few shots from there and noticed a very inviting quarry in the distance. We walked by and basked at the reflections on the water. It was very peaceful and quiet, a lush, green corner contrasting with the industrial wasteland close-by. I was really tempted to take a dip, until I saw a dead car resting at the bottom of the artificial lake. For some reasons, that just cooled me down. Or is it the rumor that a dead body was found on site not so long ago? Without its head and hands. Woooooo.
Like many other abandoned sites we’ve visited so far, the land itself has been eyed for quite some time to be transformed into high-end residential communities. Gone with the old, in with the new, once again. One such project, presented by Yonkers-based company AVR Reality, proposed building no less than 2,200 condos on the waterfront.
Predictably, local citizens and nature preservation associations have questioned this high-density plan, ultimately wondering who the riverfront belonged to (source: hudsonvalleyruins.org). Until a decision is made and an agreement is found, there is hardly anything that will take down these enormous silos.
We left a few hours later and walked the abandoned path back to our car, right outside the “No trespassing” gates. As we started the car, the local sheriff slowly drove by. I’m not sure what he was doing outside town, in this dead end. We waved hello and disappeared.
Darren took a few HDR photos of our little trip as well. Here is a glimpse below, the rest can be found in his Flickr photoset:
Urban Explorations in Print
Are you looking for more? I have assembled a hundred photos from 10 abandoned locations in my first photo book, “The Unnoticed”, available online and at different branches of the Albany Public Library. Find more about this 136-page volume, available in hard cover, soft cover, and eBook format for iPad/iPhone, in the book section.
More abandoned buildings are listed under the “Urban Exploration” category.