Research: Integrating Science & Community
Economic geology of the historical Rosendale natural cement region
I developed a passion for the history of natural cement production in eastern New York. Dolostone mined from the Hudson Valley fold-thrust belt near Rosendale is widely regarded as the source of the highest quality natural cement ever produced in North America. Rosendale cement was used in the construction of landmarks including the Brooklyn Bridge, US Capitol, and the Washington Monument. These mines associated with the production of natural cement created unique bedrock exposures that have attracted geologists for nearly 200 years.
Interestingly, Federal laws requiring the use of original materials in the restoration these and other historical landmarks is sparking a renewed interest in Rosendale natural cement. Unfortunately, many of the details associated with the complicated manufacturing process have been lost over time. I worked in collaboration with a local historical society (the Century House Historical Society) to co-author an overview history and economic geology of the Rosendale natural cement industry for a special volume published by the American Society for Testing and Materials – International (Werner and Burmeister, 2007).