•COMING IN SEPTEMBER, 2015•

Brass Valley: The Fall of an American Industry

by Emery Roth

Monday, April 4, 2011

Poised for Spring



PHOTOGRAPHER'S JOURNAL: This broad valley that lies between high ridges along the Connecticut border and a parallel line of New York Hills; and which runs from above Copake south for 20 or 25 miles past Amenia is, throughout its length, a nearly continuous corridor of rolling amber. It's rare in this part of the country to find so many broad, arable fields where a farmer can plow for long stretches without turning - hard to find such expanses of good grazing land. It's worlds away from Connecticut, back across the ridge.

By the middle of the 19th century the New York and Harlem Railroad connected these farmlands to markets in NYC, and different parts of the valley became home to Sheffield and Borden dairies. As one might expect, farmsteads here are unusually large, and their emptiness reverberates the energies that once charged the region with purpose. 

I took this picture on March 8th of 2009.  At the same time this year the valley was still buried under snow, and the crusty ice of the Smithfield ice storm, (2 photos back), just one valley over, was only 4 days old.

Two weeks later, March 26th of this year, the barns in this picture, probably the largest in the valley, burned to the ground, though it will have little effect on the arrival of spring.  I'm sure it's coming.  I heard the peepers.


Below are links to other images and posts from this valley:
Grand Cowshed (these barns close up)