INDIAN HILL

The parcel is 490 acres.  It is strategically located between Bear Mountain-Harriman State Parks and Sterling Forest.  


Location

The AT goes to the Little Dam Lake in the town of Tuxedo, to Old Orange Turnpike (County Route 19), into Harriman State Park, to Route 17 and then to US 87 (New York State Thruway).

North of the property is the AT, east is Route 17 & US 87, and south and east is County Route 19.         


Directions:

US 287 to exit 15A; left turn at light and go up 8.2 miles (passing the Information Center for Sterling Forest) and take the left turn (the one after the light at Route 17A) onto Orange Turnpike. Drive 1.2 miles to a gate on the right; drive in about 650' to a parking area with a little kiosk and port-o-let.                  


History

Recently purchased by the Scenic Hudson Land Trust, Inc., with funding from the Lila Acheson and De-Witt Wallace Fund for the Hudson Highlands.  The purchase complements the purchase on August 11, 1997 of an adjacent 1,400 acres of Sterling Forest by Scenic Hudson and the Open Space Institute, also with funding provided by the Wallace Fund.  The new acquisition will be managed by the Palisades Interstate Park Commission.  

Included in the purchase is the historic Southfield Furnace, once a humming industry when the Highlands Region was a major center for iron smelting.  Busy converting iron into armaments for the War of 1812 and the Civil War, the furnace, next to Sterling Forest in the Town of Tuxedo, has been silent since 1887.  Southfield Furnace is one of the most intact and well-studied historic iron forges in the Highlands Region, and is listed on the National and State Registers of Historic Places.   

Southfield Ironworks

Here is the newly stabilized Southfields Furnace, part of the region's iron-making and industrial history. The site is listed on the National and State Registers of Historic Places as one of the most intact iron furnaces in the Highlands Region.

1804 -- Southfield ironworks starts, built by the Townsends (perhaps as a branch of the Sterling works further south which was abandoned in 1804)

1806 -- furnace now in blast.

1810 -- Peter Townsend II makes the first blistered steel manufactured in New York State. The iron came from the Long Mine at Sterling.

1816 -- for the U. S. Government, Townsend makes the first cannon ever cast in New York State from iron ore from the same mine.

1818 - 1820 -- Abraham Dater buys iron from Southfield; Dater sells equipment to Southfield; similar with Martin Ryerson (of Ringwood, Long Pond and Pompton ironworks). Southfield furnace produces a lot of stamped-iron. A stamping mill was located next to the furnace.

1821 -- haul timber for construction of a new flume at the furnace.

1834-1836 -- ore carted to the furnace comes principally from the Long Mine (with some from the Patterson and Mountain Mines).

1835 -- Raphael Hoyle paints on commission an oil painting entitled Southfield Ironworks. It is the only existing picture of the ironworks. There is the furnace, casting house, grist-mill, barns, stables, ore wagons, ironmaster's house. Furnace producing 750 ton per year, consuming 225 bushels of charcoal per ton.

1836 -- relatively unsuccessful attempts to use anthracite coal instead of charcoal.

1839 -- Southfield furnace dismantled and rebuilt.

1864 -- the Southfield and Sterling ironworks sold as a unit to the newly-formed Sterling Iron & Railway Company (Peter Townsend still had an interest).

1859-1866 -- iron ore coming from the Augusta, Cook, Hard, Middle, New and New Augusta mines.

1868 -- Southfield furnace converted to anthracite.

1873 -- Panic of 1873 slows iron production.

1878-1887 -- blast regular and sustained.

1880-1887 -- ore mainly coming from the Sterling group: Scott, Sterling, Crawford and Red Back mines (with some coming from the Bering mine).

1880 -- coke introduced.

1885 -- death of Peter Townsend III (1803-1885); Southfield furnace closes down soon afterward.

1887 -- last blast for the Southfield furnace.

At one time the mile-long Southfield Branch Railroad connected here (via the Erie Railway in the village of Southfield).

1959 -- old ironmaster's mansion burns down.

Info from: James M. Ransom. 1966. Vanishing Ironworks of the Ramapos. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press.


Trails

The Appalachian National Scenic Trail traverses Harriman Park, then enters into Sterling Forest directly adjacent to the Indian Hill property.  

At about 1,00 feet above sea level, there are views from the summit of Indian Hill of Ramapo River Valley, Sterling Forest and Harriman.  

4/23/01. Cooney. The yellow trail takes you around the mountain with lots of views of the surrounding area. I went counter clockwise, starting through a small hemlock grove. Up hill gradually to a great viewing spot. From here to the east you can see 4 houses on a mountain; to the west a ski lift and in April some left over snow), and to the southwest a radio tower. When I was there two turkey vultures came really close to where I sat. Flickers were nearby also. You can see Breamertown Road and Orange Turnpike and hear the stream at the intersection of the two roads. Also seen is part of the Little Dam Lake by which the Appalachian trail travels.

Near this viewing area is the red trail which apparently heads downhill. It probably goes to the old Southfields Furnace, which you can see on the right hand side of the Orange Turnpike when heading up to the Indian Hill parking area.

Continuing on you pass by a small muddy swamp area off trail on the left, then to views of Orange Turnpike nearer to its intersection with Route 17. If you keep on going you come to a dammed lake which is a nice change of pace from the dry chestnut oak ridge.

Here I turned back as I was not out for a hike, but for botany and service to my fellow humans.

4/30/01. A week later I returned to walk part of the trail I had not walked. It goes along a wide road and then into the woods, having to climb up and over quite a few stone walls. The area is fairly dry but circles around a swampy area more in the middle of the area.

6/21/02 If you go past the gate and keep following the main woods path, you reach a pond. You can also get there via the yellow trail (with a little going off the trail when the trail heads off the wood trail uphill to the left).


Habitats

The property comprises wooded, rolling hills and former farm fields, with hardwood forest and exposed bedrock characteristics of the Highlands region.  It contains a pond, several wooded wetlands, steep bedrock slopes, and picturesque streams.  

Trail Walker, Nov/Dec 1997  "Scenic Hudson acquires 490-acre Indian Hill property."


PLANT LIST:
Dr. Patrick L. Cooney


Trees:
Acer rubrum (red maple) 4/23/01
Acer saccharum (sugar maple)
Amelanchier arborea (shadbush) 4/23/01 4/30/01
Betula alleghaniensis (yellow birch)
Betula lenta (black birch)
Betula populifolia (gray birch)
Carpinus caroliniana (musclewood)
Carya cordiformis (bitternut hickory)
Carya glabra (pignut hickory)
Carya ovata (shagbark hickory)
Carya tomentosa (mockernut hickory)
Castanea dentata (American chestnut)
Cornus florida (flowering dogwood)
Fagus grandifolia (American beech)
Fraxinus americana (white ash)
Juniperus virginiana (red cedar)
Liriodendron tulipifera (tulip tree)
Pinus sp. (2 needled pine, 3" long, sl. twisted)
Pinus strobus (white pine)
Prunus serotina (black cherry)
Pyrus malus (apple tree)
Pyrus sp. (crabapple)
Quercus alba (white oak)
Quercus prinus (chestnut oak)
Quercus rubra (red oak)
Quercus velutina (black oak)
Robinia pseudoacacia (black locust)
Salix nigra? (black willow?)
Sassafras albidum (sassafras)
Tsuga canadensis (eastern hemlock)

Shrubs:
Berberis thunbergii (Japanese barberry) -- a big problem in the low land areas
Chimaphila maculata (wintergreen)
Comptonia peregrina (sweetfern)
Cornus amomum (swamp dogwood) 6/21/02
Cornus racemosa (gray-stem dogwood) 6/21/02
Euonymus alatus (winged euonymus) -- did not see much of it
Gaultheria procumbens (wintergreen)
Hamamelis virginiana (witch hazel)
Kalmia latifolia (mountain laurel) 6/21/02 waning
Lindera benzoin (spice bush) 4/23/01
Lonicera morrowii (Morrow's honeysuckle)
Lyonia ligustrina (maleberry) 6/21/02
Mitchella repens (partridge berry) 6/21/02
Quercus ilicifolia (bear oak)
Rhus typhina (staghorn sumac) 6/21/02
Ribes sp. (currant) 4/30/01
Rosa multiflora (multiflora rose) 6/21/02 waning
Rubus occidentalis (black raspberry)
Rubus sp. (blackberry) 6/21/02
Salix discolor (pussy willow) 4/23/01
Salix sp. (willow)
Sambucus canadensis (common elderberry) 6/21/02
Sambucus pubescens (red elderberry)
Spiraea alba var. latifolia (meadowsweet) 7/22/02
Spiraea tomentosa (steeplebush) 7/22/02
Vaccinium corymbosum (highbush blueberry) 4/30/01 soon
Vaccinium sp. (a lowbush blueberry)
Viburnum acerifolium (maple-leaf viburnum)
Viburnum dentatum (arrowwood viburnum)

Vines:
Amphicarpaea bracteata (hog peanut)
Celastrus orbiculatus (Asiatic bittersweet)
Parthenocissus quinquefolia (Virginia creeper)
Toxicodendron radicans (poison ivy)
Vitis aestivalis (summer grape)
Vitis labrusca (fox grape)

Herbs:
Achillea millefolium (yarrow) 6/21/02 7/22/02
Agrimonia gryposepala (agrimony) 7/22/02
Alliaria petiolata (garlic mustard) 6/21/02 7/22/02
Ambrosia artemisiifolia (common ragweed)
Aralia nudicaulis (wild sarsaparilla)
Arctium minus (common burdock)
Arisaema triphyllum (jack-in-the-pulpit)
Asclepias syriaca (common milkweed) 6/21/02 soon
Aster cordifolius (heart-leaved aster) 10/01/02
Aster divaricatus (white wood aster) 10/01/02
Aster novi-belgii (New York aster) 10/01/02
Aster racemosus (small-headed aster)? 10/01/02
Aster shortii (Short's aster) 10/01/02
Barbarea vulgaris (common wintercress) 6/21/02 waning
Bidens comosa (strawstem beggar ticks) 10/01/02
Cerastium vulgatum (mouse-ear chickweed)
Chelone glabra (white turtlehead) 10/01/02 waning
Chrysanthemum leucanthemum (ox-eye daisy) 6/21/02 7/22/02
Cichorium intybus (chicory) 7/22/02 10/01/02
Circaea lutetiana (enchanter's nightshade) 7/22/02
Cirsium vulgare (bull thistle)
Conopholis americana (squawroot)
Daucus carota (Queen Anne's lace) 7/22/02
Dianthus armeria (Deptford pink) 6/21/02 7/22/02 10/01/02
Erechtites hieraciifolia (pileweed) 10/01/02
Erigeron annuus (daisy fleabane) 6/21/02 7/22/02 10/01/02
Erythronium americanum (trout lily) 4/23/01
Euthamia graminifolia (grass-leaved goldenrod)
Fragaria virginiana (wild strawberry)
Galium aparine (cleavers)
Galium mollugo (wild madder) 6/21/02
Geranium maculatum (wild geranium) 6/21/02 waning
Geum canadense (white avens) 6/21/02
Hemerocallis fulva (tawny day lily)
Hesperis matronalis (dame's rocket) 6/21/02 waning
Hieracium caespitosum (field hawkweed) 6/21/02 7/22/02
Hieracium piloselloides (smooth hawkweed) 6/21/02
Hieracium venosum (rattlesnake hawkweed) 6/21/02
Hypericum gentianoides (orangeweed)
Hypericum mutilum (dwarf St. Johnswort)
Hypericum perforatum (common St. Johnswort) 7/22/02
Impatiens capensis (orange jewelweed) 7/22/02
Iris sp. (blue or yellow flag)
Lapsana communis (nipplewort)
Lactuca canadensis (wild lettuce) 7/22/02 soon
Lechea sp. (pinweed)
Lepidium virginicum (poorman's pepper) 6/21/02
Linaria vulgaris (butter and eggs) 6/21/02 10/01/02
Lobelia inflata (Indian tobacco lobelia) 7/22/02
Lotus corniculatus (birdfoot trefoil) 7/22/02
Lysimachia quadrifolia (whorled loosestrife) 6/21/02
Maianthemum canadense (Canada mayflower)
Medicago lupulina (black medick) 6/21/02 7/22/02
Melilotus alba (white sweet clover) 7/22/02
Mimulus ringens (monkey flower) 7/22/02
Monarda fistulosa (wild bergamot) 7/22/02
Myosotis scirpioides (forget-me-not) 7/22/02
Oenothera biennis (common evening primrose) 10/01/02
Oxalis sp. (yellow wood sorrel) 6/21/02 7/22/02 10/01/02
Paronychia canadensis (forked chickweed)
Phytolacca americana (pokeweed) 7/22/02
Pilea pumila (clearweed) 10/01/02
Plantago lanceolata (English plantain) 6/21/02 7/22/02
Plantago major (common plantain)
Polygonum cespitosum (cespitose smartweed) 6/21/02 7/22/02 10/01/02
Polygonum hydropiperoides (mild water pepper) 10/01/02
Polygonum sagittatum (arrow-leaved tearthumb)
Potentilla canadensis (dwarf cinquefoil)
Potentilla norvegica (rough cinquefoil) 6/21/02
Potentilla recta (rough-fruited cinquefoil)
Potentilla simplex (common cinquefoil) 6/21/02
Prunella vulgaris (self-heal) 6/21/02 7/22/02
Ranunculus abortivus (kidney-leaf buttercup)
Ranunculus acris (tall buttercup) 6/21/02
Ranunculus ficaria (lesser celandine)
Rudbeckia hirta var. pulcherrima (black-eyed Susan) 7/22/02
Rumex acetosella (sheep sorrel)
Rumex crispus (curled dock)
Rumex obtusifolius (broad dock)
Saponaria officinalis (bouncing bet) 7/22/02
Scrophularia marilandica (Maryland figwort) 6/21/02 7/22/02 waning
Sedum sarmentosum (sedum) 6/21/02
Sedum telephioides (garden sedum)?
Sisyrinchium angustifolium (stout blue-eyed grass) 6/21/02
Solidago bicolor (silverrod) 10/01/02
Solidago caesia (blue-stem goldenrod) 10/01/02
Solidago gigantea (late goldenrod) 10/01/02
Solidago juncea (early goldenrod) 7/22/02
Solidago rugosa (rough-leaved goldenrod) 10/01/02
Spirodela polyrhiza (greater duckweed)
Stellaria graminea (lesser stitchwort) 6/21/02
Taraxacum officinale (common dandelion) 6/21/02
Tephrosia virginiana (goat's rue)
Trifolium aureum (yellow clover) 6/21/02
Trifolium pratense (red clover) 6/21/02 7/22/02
Trifolium repens (white clover) 6/21/02 7/22/02
Triodanis perfoliata (Venus' looking glass) 6/21/02
Tussilago farfara (colt's foot) 4/23/01 4/30/01
Uvularia sessilifolia (sessile-leaved bellwort)
Veratrum viride (swamp hellebore)
Verbascum thapsus (common mullein) 7/22/02
Verbena urticifolia (white vervain) 7/22/02
Veronica officinalis (common speedwell) 6/21/02
Veronica scutellata (marsh speedwell)
Viola sororia (common blue violet) 4/30/01
Wolffia sp. (watermeal)

Rushes:
Juncus effusus (soft rush)
Juncus tenuis (path rush)
Luzula multiflora (woodrush) 4/30/01

Sedges:
Carex complanata or swanii (sedge)
Carex laxiflora type (sedge)
Carex lurida (sedge)
Carex ovales type (sedge)
Carex pensylvanica (Pennsylvania sedge) 4/23/01 4/30/01
Carex stipata (sedge)
Carex stricta (tussock sedge)
Carex vulpinoidea (fox sedge)
Cyperus sp. (esculentus or strigosus) (nut or umbrella flatsedge)
Scirpus atrovirens (dark-green bulrush)
Scirpus cyperinus (woolly grass bulrush)

Grasses:
Anthoxanthum odoratum (sweet vernal grass)
Brachyelytrum erectum (long-awned wood grass)
Bromus inermis (smooth brome grass)
Cinna arundinacea (wood reedgrass)
Dactylis glomerata (orchard grass)
Elymus hystrix (bottlebrush grass)
Elymus virginicus (Virginia wild rye grass)
Elytrigia repens (quack grass)
Glyceria striata (mannagrass)
Microstegium vimineum (Japanese stilt grass)
Panicum capillare (witch panicgrass)
Panicum clandestinum (deer-tongue panicgrass)
Panicum sp. (panicgrass)
Phalaris arundinacea (reed canary grass)
Phragmites australis (giant reed grass)
Poa annua (annual bluegrass)
Schizachyrium scoparium (little bluestem grass)

Ferns and Fern Allies:
Equisetum arvense (field horsetail)
Lycopodium obscurum (ground pine club moss)
Adiantum pedatum (northern maidenhair fern)
Athyrium filix-femina (lady fern)
Dennstaedtia punctilobula (hay-scented fern)
Dryopteris carthusiana (toothed woodfern)
Dryopteris marginalis (marginal woodfern)
Onoclea sensibilis (sensitive fern)
Osmunda cinnamomea (cinnamon fern)
Polystichum acrostichoides (Christmas fern)
Thelypteris palustris (marsh fern)

Others:
Sphagnum sp. (a beautiful green moss)