The Mine Dock Park area was an industrial site for many years. Mine Dock is where locally-mined iron ore was loaded on boats and trains for shipment to blast furnaces to be smelted into pig iron. The ore came from the Forest of Dean Mine, located about 5 miles west of Mine Dock Park. This mine, discovered in 1756 and named for an iron mining area in England, worked a deposit of magnetite, the richest type of iron ore. In the mid-1700s the ore was smelted and forged at an ironworks on Popolopen Creek near the mine.
In 1865, the Forest of Dean Iron Ore Company purchased the mine and built two reservoirs and 40-foot waterwheels for mechanical power. The terrain between the mine and the ore shipping dock on the Hudson River was extremely rugged. To move ore to the river, the company built a 3.5 mile-long horse-drawn tram rail line to the south side of 942 foot-high Popolopen Torne. From there horses pulled ore wagons to the dock where it was dumped into boats and taken upriver to the Poughkeepsie Iron Company. After the West Shore Railroad was built through the landing in 1883, ore was also shipped by rail.
The Forest of Dean Iron Ore Co. shut down in 1894 and the Hudson Iron Company reopened the mine in 1905. Ore was hoisted from the mine and crushed to 2-inch lumps. After 1916, ore and waste rock were separated by an electromagnet. The ore was transported to the dock by a remarkable system. The company extended the rail line another mile, and used a steam locomotive to pull ore cars to the terminus. From there they built a 6,300 foot-long aerial cable tramway transporting forty, 1/2-ton ore buckets over 23 steel towers to the river. At the dock, ore was stored in a 1,000 ton bin for loading railroad cars and barges. The company shipped ore to its own blast furnace in Secaucus, New Jersey.
By 1921, the Fort Montgomery Iron Corporation had acquired the mine. They shipped ore to blast furnaces in the Lehigh Valley including Perryville, Pennsylvania. The ore deposit was then described as roughly cylindrical, about 80 feet wide, extending 4,500 feet underground on a 20 degree angle. By some accounts mining extended 6,000 feet when the mine closed in November, 1931.
The Forest of Dean Mine's total lifetime ore production over 175 years of operation is estimated at 2 million tons. It was the longest-operating iron mine in the New York portion of the New York/New Jersey Highlands Iron Mining District, ahead of the Sterling Mine in Warwick. In 1942 the mine site became part of the West Point Military Academy reservation, and it now lies under Stilwell Lake. The mine and its Hudson River dock had been Fort Montgomery's main industry and after they closed the village went into economic decline. Today at Mine Dock Park the only remains of the busy iron ore loading facility are a few concrete piers and slabs at the rock outcrop near the railroad crossing.