November 2, 1999
Editor: Hans DePold, Bolton Town Historian
This newsletter is to provide a means for keeping historians, re-enactors, and other interested people aware of the activity to list the Revolutionary Road on the National Register of Historic Places. Rochambeau’s French army defines the Revolutionary Road when they marched from Newport to Yorktown and back to Boston. The goal is to encourage registration of the entire route that passes through Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland and Virginia and raise to a higher level the quality of heritage preservation along the route.
First Vote to Preserve the 5th French Camp
The first town meeting vote to decide if the Rose Farm, the site of Rochambeau’s 5th encampment, is to be preserved was held tonight. I was given three minutes to explain its historical significance so I had to talk mighty fast to cover all the ground. It got an ovation.
It was the largest turnout anyone could remember in recent history. Only one person voted against applying for a $600,000 state open space grant. The application will go in on November 19. The state’s decision could take four to six months. Then there will be a town meeting or a referendum. The Bolton Historical Society handed out fliers, wrote a report, posted signs, and made calls for this first phase to help make it a success. Thank you for your letters of support. When the application is submitted we will need to seek Governor John Rowland’s support.
On the Razzle Looking For the Phantom Headquarters.
I received word last week that some people in White Plains were consulted and they had never heard of a Washington’s Headquarters in their town. Where is this phantom headquarters they asked?
The White Plains War Office apparently has disappeared from NY maps. That is a bad sign. It was located at the foot of a hill that was the place where the French and Continental armies met and stayed before marching together to Yorktown. The French diaries indicate Lauzun’s legion of horsemen camped there and the nearby road is still called Lafayette Avenue.
It took me almost an hour to find an old NY map that showed the location of the headquarters. My wife and I decided to find the phantom this past Sunday on Halloween.
First we went to Tarrytown’s Sleepy Hollow to the historic Dutch church and cemetery. We then looked at Philipsburg Manor and then toured Washington Irvings home. There we watched the movie “RipVan Winkle,” and saw children making scarecrows and looking for the headless horseman. We were now ready to look for the phantom headquarters of White Plains.
We drove back on Rt. 9 towards Sleepy Hollow. We took Neperan Rd that heads east. County House Rd would have done as well as they meet and go around a pleasant series of small lakes and become 100C and then Grasslands Rd. It becomes Rt. 100 when it crosses Bradhurst Ave/Knowlwood Rd. Then as 100 turns sharply south (right) and there is a fork (Virginia Rd) to the left.
We took Virginia Rd heading SE, past the Pkwy. Until then everything was quite beautiful. We then knew we were getting near the phantom because suddenly there was a scent of sulfur and electrical discharges. An AmTrack side rail parking area came into view. Then a rail depot for building materials loomed up. We passed Lafayette Ave where the French had encamped. Suddenly we found the phantom on the left, the north side of the street. If you go too far you run into 22, the old Post Road.
To tour this phantom Washington headquarters you need to call in advance 242-6300. It is apparently maintained under Westchester County Parks and Recreation Services. It should be on the endangered historic monument list. Most of the land that must have been with the house was developed. It is important that the stewards of historic property have little genuine interest in American Heritage and the ear of the Governor.
New Jersey on The Move Too
RevWar re-enactors were most helpful at the grassroots level reports John Vilven of “Lamb’s Artillery.”
He reported a breakthrough! Partnering with the Washington Association of New Jersey they got through to Governor Christy Todd Whitman who has now broken things loose to get the Office of Travel and Tourism and the Department of Parks and Forestry involved. They have a beautiful new brochure on NJ, the Crossroads of the Revolution, and are in the process of identifying the routes. Still the Rochambeau-Washington trail needs to be registered.
>Rhode Island and Massachusetts, Where are you?
RI and MA are the alpha and the omega of the Rochambeau Trail. We are looking for people and groups within those states with whom to partner for the national route. If you can help, please correspond.
New York “All State” Rochambeau Meeting Planned
Dr. James Johnson and Dr. Jacque Bossier are putting together plans for a meeting involving all the states involved in the Franco-American march to Yorktown. It is now likely that the meeting will be held in December. Society of the Cincinnati participation is also sought.
The Maryland SSAR continues doing great work while clearly having a lot of fun in the process. I recently received a copy of their annual report. It is an excellent document by a truly outstanding chapter that keeps the public aware of our national heritage.