Help PROTECT & PRESERVE this Revolutionary War encampment and burial grounds.
FISHKILL, July 2016 - In a matter of seven weeks, the NY State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) changed its position on the Fishkill Supply Depot to one of foreseeing an adverse impact (through commercial development) to effectively coaching the owner on where and how to develop.
Per SHPO's own website, its mission is to "help communities identify, evaluate, preserve, and revitalize their historic, archeological, and cultural resources" and "work with governments, the public, and educational and not-for-profit organizations to raise historic preservation awareness, to instill in New Yorkers a sense of pride in the state's unique history and to encourage heritage tourism and community revitalization." By its most recent letter, SHPO has ignored its very mission and cast aside the great historic preservation work that Friends of Fishkill Supply Depot and this region's concerned citizens have performed since first halting development of the site in 2007.
URGENTLY asking that you attend the upcoming Town of Fishkill Planning Board meeting, check out the agenda recently posted to Town of Fishkill's website. We need to get as many preservation minded people in attendance at this important PB meeting next Thursday 7/14/16 at 7 pm at Fishkill Town Hall. On the agenda is: Continental Commons - Special Use Permit & Site Development Plan. Continuation of project review and the project sponsor's archaeologists shall review a PowerPoint presentation". If, developer has his way it may be the last meeting.
The Town of Fishkill planning board meeting agenda and the support agenda packet is now posted on website and there's over a 1400 page document. And it states public should have only 30 days to respond because public has already had its say, etc...
HELP SAVE HISTORY
See you at this critical juncture meeting and if you can't attend, please pass this important info onto someone that can. Numbers speaks volume, lets fill the house!
VISIT THE FRIENDS OF THE SUPPLY DEPOT WEBSITE FOR MORE INFORMATION
About Fishkill Supply Depot
Declared as "the last of the important Revolutionary War sites yet to be properly explored," the Fishkill Supply Depot remains so today: a one-of-a-kind site of national importance that has never gotten its due. Located in Fishkill, New York, the Depot was a key strategic center of the American Revolution, established and visited repeatedly by George Washington. Known as the "Military nerve center of the Continental army," the Depot was one of three major encampments along with Morristown and Valley Forge. Hallowed history happened here - hundreds of the original soldiers who fought to found our nation died and were buried in unmarked graves.
New York's Valley Forge Under Siege
Central to the outcome of key battles like Saratoga, the Depot played an important role in the founding of the United States, and its significance in American history cannot be overemphasized. Yet today, the National Register Fishkill Supply Depot is under threat of commericial development.
Priceless Heritage at Risk as Development Threatens a Major Historic and Archaeological Site
Time is running out for preserving a priceless heritage, a key historic and archaeological site in the town of Fishkill, dating from the American Revolution. The site, the Fishkill Supply Depot, has been listed for decades in the National Register of Historic Places and consists of more than 70 acres on the East and West sides of southern Route 9. Here more than two centuries ago, thousands of Continental Army soldiers weathered the winters of 1776 to 1783 and blocked the British strategy of advancing unopposed up both sides of the Hudson to secure a line of communication from New York City to Canada. If the patriot forces had failed in this effort, it could have spelled defeat for the patriots and assured the ultimate victory of the Royalist cause in North America.
At its peak, the encampment, built under orders from General George Washington was a small city which included extensive barracks and officer huts for thousands of soldiers, guard house and palisade, a prison, major hospital, artillery placements, storage buildings, an armory, blacksmith shops, stables, parade grounds, and a powder magazine which supplied all Northern Patriot forces. Today, the only remaining structure is the Van Wyck Homestead, originally a farmhouse which served as a headquarters for military operations.
Reflecting the site's importance, the Fishkill Supply Depot and Encampment was placed on the "National Register for Historic Places" in 1974. But subsequently plans to make the Depot a national park and open it up to serious archaeological investigation were thwarted. Now, once more, land belonging to the encampment and supply depot, which has never been properly assessed by experts in the field of military archaeology, is being seriously threatened by a new round of commercial development on land east of the highway. As a result, the archaeological and historical record of what remains of the encampment will be further jeopardized, depriving future generations of a direct link to a remarkable past.
The Fishkill Supply Depot was critical to the success of the Continental Army during the American Revolution and was central to the founding of the United States. Documents show that its importance to General Washington as an essential military facility cannot be overestimated. The Depot played a vital role in the victory of the Continental Army over British forces during the American Revolution, and is therefore listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It is a highly unusual and significant part of the historical heritage of the Town of Fishkill, of the State of New York and of the United States of America.
About the Preservation Mob
Newburgh’s historic district is New York State’s largest and contains a collection of structures which span four centuries of architectural history. In 1782-3 General Washington commanded the army from a farmhouse on the banks of the river and in 1850 it became America’s first historic site. Growing to prominence in the 1820s through river industry, the Empire State’s leading families built ornate mansions overlooking the waterfront there. In the 1840s, Andrew Jackson Downing created the first architectural collective in the American tradition by pioneering an integrated style landscape design and bringing the world’s most creative minds to the area to build their masterpieces. Newburgh’s innovative institutions and businesses flowered during the gilded age and that left behind a variety of preeminent public spaces. America’s first “garden city” was built here in the twentieth century and the walkable downtown areas boasted premier shopping and entertainment venues. Always at the forefront of historic preservation and green-space commemoration, it is a tragic reality that Newburgh suffered severely during Urban Renewal. Between 1970 and 1973, over two- thousand structures were senselessly demolished leaving fifty acres of waterfront property vacant for decades. Economic crisis and political instability followed this destruction and now a group of businessmen and artists fight to reclaim the downtown and restore the City’s vibrant traditions. In spite of the lessons learned from Urban Renewal, the city government continues to ignore the city’s greatest assets. We are demanding an end to this short-sightedness — we want our city to find better solutions, to uphold architectural protections and to market these properties with accountability to the entire fabric of our community.