WASHINGTON-ROCHAMBEAU REVOLUTIONARY ROUTE WRRR NEWSLETTER NO. 34

September 3, 2000

Editor Hans DePold, Bolton Town Historian

Wisdom of Native Americans

Listen or your tongue will keep you deaf. (Mohegan) Man has responsibility, not power. (Tuscarora) If you see no reason for giving thanks, the fault lies in yourself. (Minquass) Do not wrong or hate your neighbor for it is not he that you wrong but yourself. (Pima)

H.R. 4794

the “Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route National Heritage Act of 2000 is now up to 39 co-sponsors in Congress. We can help Congressman John Larson and Senator (and V-P candidate) Joseph Lieberman to get the bill passed this short election year congressional session. Senator Lieberman will introduce the bill when Congress begins its final session this week.

On about Sept 5 we should begin contacting three key people in the House of Representatives and finish that task this week. The W3R bill HR4794 now rests in the Resources Committee. Congressman Larson (D-CT) will ask the highest ranking committee minority member, George Miller (D-CA) to raise the bill. Miller will ask the committee chairman to have HR4794 voted out of the committee. Next we need J. Dennis Hastert (R-ILL) to bring about a floor vote on the bill. None of these new key people are from the nine W3R states. When we ask them to act we should state our shared constituencies. We are all Americans enjoying and wanting to preserve our shared heritage. I will say more in the e-mail directly to you.

Similarly once Senator Joseph Lieberman introduces the Senate companion bill I will announce if we should contact three key people in the Senate.

W3R Steering Committee News

At the December 16, 1999 joint meeting of W3R state committees it was decided that Reverend Dr. Jacques Bossiere would be Chairman of the Steering Committee, with Dr. James Johnson, Executive Director, and Hans DePold, PE, the Committee of Correspondence Chairman.

Jim Johnson reports that the Florence Gould Foundation awarded the Hudson River Valley Greenway Conservancy, Inc. a grant to have Dr. Robert Selig do an Historic and Architectural Survey of the W3R and its sites in New York. The report is expected by 1 February 2001. This grant also funds the initial work for the archeological survey in New York for 2001.

As a part of the program of the Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area, two maps of the W3R will be produced, one for New York and one for the entire route through all nine states. Jim has also been surveying the representatives from the nine states about a possible meeting at the Yorktown National Battlefield on 18 October 2000.

The New York Times ran an extensive article on the W3R activities in Connecticut on August 20, 2000.

Education Through W3R Heritage Tourism

In reality, education in schools today is based more and more on social factors and the focus keeps shifting. Times have changed and the Revolutionary War is being squeezed out, not only by other social sciences, but even the Civil War is getting higher and higher priority.

But we know education only begins in the schools and most people learn much more on their own. People travel abroad to learn about other cultures. The W3R can be an important alternative source for education during vacations here at home. By successfully linking our history and tourism as they have done in Europe and Asia, the value of heritage preservation can be realized. If more of our heritage can earn its own way, then our limited resources can be stretched to preserve more of our heritage. Since the Connecticut heritage inventory of 1972, the CT State Historic Preservation Office has recorded a loss of 30% of the structures along the W3R. This is happening in all states, not just in Connecticut. The creation of the W3R will make most heritage along the route economically viable and will hopefully stop the losses we are experiencing.

In Europe and Asia, heritage tourism means the preservation of the environment as well. The value of heritage depends on the context in which the preservation occurs. An historic site in an original environment is much more attractive than one in a built up industrial area. Open space pays for itself when associated with heritage tourism. For proof of this, we need only visit the Chateau region of France or the Great Wall of China.

The W3R Can Utilize Overwater Sections For Tourism

I recently had an interesting conversation with Robert Reyes about the W3R. He is doing the “Star Spangled Historic Trail” project for the National Park Service (NPS).

He notes that the W3R offers a rare opportunity in Maryland to have a boat trail segment where the French navy came in to transport the French troops. This would let us commemorate Admiral De Grasse in that segment. Washington and Rochambeau and the baggage train continued overland. The same can be said of Rhode Island where much of the French Army sailed from Newport to Providence. The water routes can enrich and diversify the educational experience and the American heritage tourism industry.

Commemorating the Washington-Rochambeau March

Robert Reyes is also involved with postal commemoration. The creation of the W3R will afford us the opportunity to commemorate our French Alliance and this great march with a commemorative first day cover stamps postmarked from each state along the route.