Joppenbergh Collapse

June 23, 2022

The collapse of the Joppenbergh mountain mines can be seen from the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail on the Trestle.


Joppenbergh Mountain in the late 1800s

In the late 1800s, Joppenbergh mountain was mined extensively for the production of natural cement. The rocks that were primarily mined in this area consisted of a clay-rich dolostone. Due to the composition of these rocks, no further additives were required in the cement-making process, unlike the modern-day Portland cement. Rosendale cement was also hydraulic meaning that it hardened when introduced to water making it desirable for canal construction and other public works projects.

Joppenbergh Mountain today

Rosendale cement became a booming industry and by 1899 almost 9 million barrels of natural cement were produced each year. Unfortunately, in December 1899, due to miscalculations in the room and pillar style mining, the mines of Joppenbergh mountain collapsed leaving the area in ruins. 


Although Rosendale cement is no longer in production, the legacy of the cement can be seen all throughout the United States. Rosendale cement was used for parts of the  Brooklyn Bridge, the pedestal of the statue of liberty, the lower 152′ of the Washington Monument, the Croton Aqueduct and dams, the Pennsylvania railroad tunnels, and many more public works projects!


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Geology of the Hudson Valley: A Billion Years Of History by Steven Schimmrich