Where in the Hudson Valley Contest: “Revolutionary Reminder” Historic Monument
Local group preserves a historic monument
Photograph courtesy of Palisades Parks Conservancy
This limestone landmark on the western banks of the Hudson may not look like much at first sight. You might be surprised, then, to learn that it is the nation’s only monument commemorating the peace treaty that marked the conclusion of the Revolutionary War.
Signed by Benjamin Franklin and other colonial leaders on September 3, 1783, the Treaty of Paris formally ended the Revolutionary War and recognized American independence. A century later, Robert Todd Lincoln — son of our 16th president and, at the time, the secretary of war — ordered the construction of this memorial, which pays tribute to the 100th anniversary of the treaty and the conflict’s end. The structure was built on a historic seven-acre property in the mid-Valley region, which a famous general once used as his headquarters (revealing his name would give too much away).
Lincoln enlisted two well-known designers of the period, architect John Hemingway Duncan — who created Grant’s Tomb in New York City, among other structures — and sculptor William Rudolph O’Donovan. O’Donovan crafted the life-sized bronze statue of the famous war general that stands inside the monument, as well as the four Continental Army soldiers that are placed above the building’s gates. After four years of work, the tribute was completed on December 31, 1887.
Today, the building is more than a century old, and the passage of time and the unforgiving Valley weather have taken a toll. The roof was damaged during a 1950 hurricane and completely removed in 1953 after another storm struck it; the stonework has also suffered considerable deterioration. This past November, the Palisades Parks Conservancy launched a campaign to restore the landmark to its original state. At press time, donations and grants totaling $450,000 had been raised, including a contribution of $50,000 from the American Express Foundation.
If you think you know the whereabouts of this elegant edifice, send us your answer as a comment in the box below. The first reader with the correct response wins a prize. Good luck!