Sticking out into the Hudson River, about 70 miles north of Manhattan, are the ruins of the Dennings Point Brickworks. The abandoned buildings are all that is left of a company that once fired a million bricks a week, some of which ended up in the Empire State Building and Rockefeller Center.
Dennings Point is in Beacon, New York, about half way between New York City and Albany. Like many such towns along the Hudson, Beacon once saw a lot of small manufacturing. The Dennings Point Brickworks started operating in 1885 on a 65 acre spit of land sticking out into the river. The brickworks contributed their wares to the flurry of construction in New York City and other urban centers in the first half of the 20th century. For over 50 years they kept up their pace. But by 1939, having used up all the local clay, the factory fell silent. The buildings did see some industry in later years, making composite wood, concrete and paper clips. But by 1980 the decline of local industries in towns like Beacon finally caught up with Dennings Point, and all manufacturing there shutdown.
In 1988 the land was taken over by the State Parks system. It’s taken some time, but today Dennings Point is home to both a park and the Center for Environmental Innovation and Education, part of the Beacon Institute for Rivers and Estuaries. The Center has restored one of the abandoned factory buildings, now used as both the visitors’ center and for their educational programs, events, and environmental workshops. But the rest of the ruins are still there, speaking to the stark beauty of these old industrial sites. With both the State Park and the Beacon Institute looking out for Dennings Point, preserving both the land and the buildings – seems like a win-win.
Know Before You Go
NOTE: Dennings Point is a bald eagle nesting area and areas near the brick factory are closed from mid-Dec to mid-March due to the nesting schedule. Please be respectful and mindful of this as to not disturb the natural wildlife
Within the Dennings Point hiking area near Beacon, NY. As of October 1st, the bridge is open and the ruins are accessible. Even with the bridge being down, the site can be accessed via the Fjord Trail and Riverside Trail.
As of April 2021, the factory is fenced off and cleared of vegetation. Clarkson University's Beacon Institute for Rivers and Estuaries is renovating the building for use as an environmental education facility.