Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Homer Ramsdell - Industrialist

Homer Ramsdell, an interesting personality by any measure, not only made his mark on Denning’s Point on the Hudson river, he left his mark all over New England. He purchased the majority of Denning’s Point in 1872 and was trying to control access to it by 1876 by raising gates and posting a trespassing notice in the September 22, 1877 Fishkill Standard. Good luck with that, residents of Fishkill Landing, Matteawan and Brynesville had been using the point for clam bakes, boat racing and other activities involving alcohol as long as anyone could remember.

In 1880 Ramsdell began construction of a very large brickyard, (brick factory). The area, you see, had large deposits of clay and some sand, the stuff bricks are made from. This was long before the era of environmental impact statements, so Ramsdell engaged in land sculpture widening the neck of the peninsula using fill that was hauled in.

However, the locals were upset that a large manufacturing facility was going up ruining their party spot, so Ramsdell’s house was robbed and arson occurred on several occasions, as well as an attempt to sabotage the primary machine; Homer was not deterred. Respected by some, detested by others, he continued to develop the factory until his death in 1894. His obituaries show he did a lot more than make bricks he was a true 19th century industrialist.

The trustees of his estate reopened the point to recreation by the locals after his death and the attacks stopped.  In 1925 David Strickland, a certifiable racist, updated the brick making machinery to a new design enabling the brickworks to turn out 400,000 bricks a day.  It is interesting to stop and think about how many homes and buildings have the well known <DPBW> logo.

Homer would have loved SANS Rocky Mountain 2017. He proved during his lifetime that he could do anything he durn well wanted to do. The majority of hands on activities at Rocky Mountain are done using virtual machines where the student can do whatever they durn well choose to do.

I don’t know if Homer knows it, but locals won big time in the end. Denning Point today is a New York state park.

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