NRHP – Snyder Cement Works

The Snyder cement works were located in the southeast section of the district in the vicinity of the Snyder canal slip, north of Route 213. Cement production by the Snyder family began c1850, when Andrew Jacob Snyder I opened a quarry on his wife’s (Catherine Snyder, a second cousin, daughter of Jacob Lowe Snyder) property. After a period of farming, Snyder returned to cement production in 1860. By the 1880s, Snyder’s sons were involved in the cement business (now A.J. Snyder and Sons) and, after 1880, A.J. and Catherine expanded the cement works, building a mill and numerous other features, as well as purchasing a fleet of canal boats to assist in distribution of the finished product. By 1902, when A.J. Snyder I died, the family retained large property and industrial holdings. A.J. Snyder and Sons continued in business until 1911, when A.J. Snyder II (grandson of A.J. Snyder I) took over and ran the business until 1970. Today, several canal-related and industrial features remain, as do the foundations and remains of a number of other industrial features (See Ruin Inventory).

Snyder Canal Slip – [Map 1, 21] 

Located north of and perpendicular to Rte. 213 and east of the homestead is a canal slip built c1825-8, during the construction of the D & H Canal (cession agreement between Jacob L. Snyder and John B. Jervis, chief engineer, D & H Canal). The slip, which provided access to the canal and space to load and unload boats, was constructed so that Jacob L. Snyder, who had a grist mill on the south side of the canal, could receive grain to be ground and ship out flour via the canal; however, the slip was soon used in the cement production industry. Anthracite coal, required to fuel the cement kilns, was delivered from Honesdale, Pennsylvania via the canal. Canal boats entered the slip to unload the coal and to be re-loaded with cement produced on the property. The product was then shipped down the canal to the Rondout basin and re-loaded for the trip down the Hudson River to New York City and to national markets. After the canal was enlarged between 1849 and 1852, larger boats shipped directly to New York City without re-loading.

The stonework of the slip is in good condition. This slip is an extremely rare surviving example of a canal slip built for the D & H Canal in the 1825-9 period and may be the last surviving example from the early period of construction.

(one contributing structure)

Delaware and Hudson Canal Feeder Reservoir – [Map 1, 38]

East of the southern entrance to the Beach Mine and west of Binnewater Road is a feeder reservoir held back by a stone dam with a small spillway (c1825-8) . This reservoir collected and stored water to fill the canal in dry seasons.

(one contributing structure)

D & H Canal Waste Weir – [Map 1, 43]

 The waste weir is located south of Rte. 213 at the southwestern tip of the district. The waste weir is in very good condition. The canal towpath crossed the waste weir but no bridge structure remains. Tan House Brook runs through this waste weir into the Rondout Canal.

(one contributing structure)

Snyder Kilns – [Map 1, 18]

This battery of nine kilns is situated approximately three hundred feet northeast of the homestead and facing it; they are built into a hillside. These date from 1860 and later. Each of these kilns is approximately forty feet high with a diameter of nine or ten feet and a drawing arch eight feet high. The exteriors are constructed of stone and the interiors are lined with yellow firebrick. In front of the kilns is a metal shed built to protect the workers and to keep the calcined stone dry in wet weather. The shed in front of the southern section of the kiln is extant. These kilns are of the perpetual draw type developed by Watson E. Lawrence and used throughout the cement district. The Snyder kilns remained in operation from their construction in 1860 until 1928. Sections of the tramway rails and tramway abutments are extant on the northern end of the kilns (see Ruin Inventory).

(one contributing structure)

Widow Jane Mine – [Map 1, 19]

This cement mine, indicative of the style of mining conducted throughout the district, was named after Jane Snyder, widow of James Snyder, Catherine Snyder’s brother. The mine is located behind the tenant house. Visually, the mine is best described as a “huge room with pillars.” The drift entry allowed for ground level access by workers and equipment. The mine was opened in 1830 by Watson E. Lawrence, who quarried there until 1850, when A.J. Snyder I started to quarry the eastern section. The mine extends underground for the length of at least one mile (Century House Historical Society [CHHS] archives). Currently, the majority of the mine is flooded with ground water.

(one contributing structure)

Cemetery – [Map 1, 20]

 On top of the mine is a small cemetery with grave markers dating from the nineteenth century. The markers aretypically small and undecorated. No members of the Snyder family are buried here; those buried may have been workers,

(one contributing site)

Horse Corral Mine – [Map 1, 12] 

This mine is located approximately 700 feet east of the road between the Snyder homestead and the Century Cement office building. The date of this mine’s operation is unknown; however, it has always been on Snyder land and after 1868, any activity at this mine would have been by A.J. Snyder and Sons or A.J. Snyder II.

(one contributing structure)

Dynamite Storage House – [Map 1, 39]

 This is a 8 ft. by 10 ft.cement block structure with reinforced concrete roof and heavy steel door that was used to store explosives; it is located near the entrance to the Horse Corral Mine. Its date of construction isunknown, but it appears to be post-1900.

(one contributing building)