mines & their history
One hundred miles north of our distillery in Brooklyn lies Rosendale – the origin of the pure limestone water used to proof all of Widow Jane's whiskeys. Rosendale's legendary mines include the Widow Jane Mine, now a historical site maintained by the Century House Historical Society and the inspiration for our name. We are extremely proud to partner with the Century House Historical Society who guard and promote the foundational history of the Mines and town of Rosendale. Let’s step back in time.
In 1830, commercial mining began in New York's Hudson Valley region, where the town of Rosendale sits. By 1840, Rosendale had 13 cement companies operating 16 sites collectively producing 600,000 barrels of cement annually. By 1891, half of the cement used in North America was Rosendale cement. Millions of barrels of cement made their way to market via the transportation links provided by the D&H Canal, river, & railroad. By the end of the 19th century, the superior quality of Rosendale cement was known worldwide and was actively used in the construction of some of America’s most enduring landmarks. Everything from the Brooklyn Bridge, the Washington Monument and Grand Central Terminal used Rosendale cement and all in all thousands of important public works and private projects all got their start underground in the limestone mines of Rosendale. Rosendale cement was the foundational building block of the 19th century and the wonder material of its age.
The Rosendale mines are part of a 32-square-mile shelf of limestone that sits between the towns of High Falls and Kingston, in Upstate NY. A place called Joppenbergh Mountain became the epicenter of the local mining industry, as the quality of its limestone was ideal for being ground into cement. The limestone found here is so tough in fact that the core of Iron Mountain's essentially bomb proof site near Joppenbergh Mountain in the Beach Mine, and for that reason, originals and contemporary copies of the world’s most historical documents, such as the Magna Carta and Declaration of Independence, are stored here in these natural vaults.
Today the Widow Jane Mine provides an exciting venue for historic interpretations and special events and the mines form an amazing natural amphitheater in which many musicians have performed and recorded, taking advantage of the unique acoustics.
The history found in and around these Mines is remarkable. We, and our whiskey, are grateful for the historic site and the pure sweet water it now contains. In a sealed section of a nearby mine's caverns, not far from the Widow Jane Mine, we regularly harvest the water and use it to proof all of our whiskeys. It is this hard-yet-sweet water which makes our whiskey special….. perhaps even “history in a glass.”
The Century House Historical Society is an all-volunteer non-profit that maintains information about Rosendale's rich cement industry through archives, documents, photographs, and geology in their museum collection. The Society sits on twenty acres of grounds and regularly holds special events.
Its pristine waters lay between rock columns that are truly an engineering marvel.
Iron Mountain still preserves documents in its site at Joppenbergh Mountain's cement mines in Rosendale.
The Brooklyn Bridge, Grand Central Terminal, the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty, the NYS Thruway, wings of the Capitol Building, Washington Monument, Erie Canal, Croton Aqueduct, and thousands of public works projects were made with strong Rosendale cement.
In addition to the Widow Jane Mine, Century House has a museum dedicated to the preservation of the area's industrial history located at the Snyder Estate in Rosendale.
Limestone mineral water has filled the legendary Rosendale mines from rain filtering through the limestone rock and filling its pools throughout its mines.
Widow Jane Mine in Rosendale
The Century House Historical Society at the Snyder Estate is open 7 Days a week, sunrise to sunset, free for members, and all others by donation. Museum Hours are Sundays 1 pm – 4 pm, May through September 1st.
Always check https://www.centuryhouse.org/ or call when planning a visit.668 Route 213, P.O. Box 150Rosendale, NY, 12472-0150https://www.centuryhouse.org/845-658-9900
Widow Jane proudly supports the Century House Historical Society.
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