Photo by David Morris Cunningham.
Mindy Krazmien, director of the Putnam County Historical Society & Foundry School Museum, says the more she studies the history of the region, the more she finds that draws her in. “The history of the entire county is fascinating because it has been such a big part of major events in American history basically since Europeans arrived on this continent.” She adds, “Henry Hudson passed Cold Spring on his way up the river, and pretty much ever since then, its been right in the thick of what is key to the country. ”
Krazmien’s passion for the region’s storied past is evident as she points out some of the area’s historic highlights. While in command of West Point, Benedict Arnold was headquarted in Garrison at the home of Beverly Robinson. Arnold planned to surrender the fort at West Point to the British, but his plot was exposed and Arnold fled from Garrison and escaped to the river. Cold Spring is home to the West Point Foundry, which is where the Parrott Gun—a revolutionary cannon used extensively in the Civil War—was invented and manufactured. “Many historian’s credit [the Parrott Gun] with helping the North win the war,” says Krazmien.
Krazmien said her job is helped by the fact that local residents have such a deep interest in their own history. “You have this amazing community of people who are incredibly loyal to this community and have been here for many generations. You meet people whose grandfather’s grandfather’s grandfather ran a sloop up and down the Hudson River that was well documented as the fastest sloop working the river in the late 19th century.”
Krazmien moved to the area in 2006, when she got the position as director of the Putnam County Historical Society. Prior to that, she worked as the exhibitions manager at the Queens Borough Public Library in New York City.
The Foundry School Museum is located at the West Point Foundry’s school building, which was built around 1830 and is adjacent to the West Point Foundry Preserve. In addition to permanent exhibits the museum displays two temporary exhibits each year. On display through June 14 is “America the Beautiful: Women and the Flag,” examining the relationship between patriotism and feminism.
Krazmien lives in Cold Spring with her husband, Daniel A. Miller, a documentary filmmaker, and their two children.
She said the area is special because of its deep sense of community. “It doesn’t just apply to people’s sense of place and their interest in history. It really applies across the board,” Krazmien says. “People are very sociable. It’s a very open community—people are out at night and throughout the day interacting with one another.” Pchs-fsm.org.