WASHINGTON-ROCHAMBEAU REVOLUTIONARY ROUTE W3R NEWSLETTER NO. 48

March 12, 2002

Our goal is the creation and sustaining of the Washington Rochambeau Revolutionary Route, National Historic Trail, that passes through Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland and Virginia, and the elevation to a higher level the quality of heritage preservation all along the route. This newsletter tries to represent the point of view of the honest and truthful patriots who respected Washington and Rochambeau, the ones who, if alive, would be working with us to honor them. Today we look to the SAR, the DAR, and the SOC as the arbiters of that standard of interpretation of the route’s events.

First W3R National Trail Public Hearings

By now many of you may have received notice of public hearings for the Washington-Rochambeau National Historic Trail. Those of you who sent your addresses to me or to the NPS, along with many public officials and commission members, have been notified of three public hearings scheduled thus far. The first hearing is appropriately in Congressman John Larson’s district where it all started. The National Park Service has scheduled a public hearing for Thursday, March 14, 2002 in Hartford, CT, at the South Congregational Church, 277 Main Street, Hartford. from 1:30pm to 3:30pm. The NPS will collect public comment on the proposed trail. While this is not a convenient time for working people, you can also write your comments if you are unable to attend.

Similar meetings will be held at Yorktown, VA Visitor Center on Saturday March 16 from 1:30 -3:30 and at the Trenton, NJ, Old Barracks Museum, on Barrack Street.

Bolton White Tavern Nominated to National Register

The White Tavern in Bolton, CT, opposite the Rose Farm (5th French Camp), was recommended by the State National Register Review Board on Thursday, February 14, to be put on the National Register of Historic Places. The house is still reported to have original ceilings with some French bayonet holes from 1781 in them. One of the benefits of the recognition being given to the W3R is how it expedites registrations. Normally a single historic structure can cost a homeowner $3000 in research and other expenses to register a deserving property. Prior to year 2000 Bolton had one house on the National Register. Now Bolton has the town green, eight properties, and the ninth property is in the works. All the new registrations including the Bolton town green were accomplished at no cost to the owners.

Protecting Places that Matter

The Rose Farm is a site that combines American heritage/cultural preservation, and open space land protection. It is a key Revolutionary war campsite on the proposed Washington-Rochambeau National Historic Trail being studied by the National Park Service. It has been documented that the site was visited by George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, General Rochambeau, Lafayette, and other patriots. Five thousand French and more than one thousand American Revolutionary War soldiers camped on the Rose Farm. The buildings and the archaeological site are on the National Register of Historic Places. The Rose Farm is also an open space wildlife refuge and contains several nature trails.

All sites along that trail will eventually be linked on the basis of their common theme to provide an extensive tourism infrastructure. A Rose Farm Stewardship Committee has been appointed to recommend the future management and uses of the site by July 2002. When the trail is in place there will be a need for a system to manage and report on tourism operations and revenue production from the different sites, including museums, gift shops, refreshments areas, guided tours, arts & crafts centers, archaeological sites, and to market activities and resources including a web site. A team from Rensselaer’s Lally School of Management has volunteered to do the info-systems Business Needs Analysis by the end of April.

Thirty-two University of Connecticut students in five teams under the direction of two professors have volunteered to complete land use and ecological studies at Camp 5 by May.

The first public hearing on the use of the Rose Farm was held on March 7. A National Guard representative of the 200-person unit that has been clearing regional trails asked if they could clear the unwanted brush and abandoned equipment from the Rose Farm. As payment the representative said we could not imagine the feeling the members of the unit would have just being able to bivouac on the same ground where the patriots once slept.

Two Trinity College professors showed what they have been doing at a farm their university recently acquired. They offered to help with the Rose Farm and indicated that the University grants director could help Bolton find grants for the Rose Farm. Now is the time for re-enactor groups, and historical societies like the DAR, SAR, and SoC to say how they would like to see Camp 5 used. This is a prototype, an experiment with the future of the national trail.

Artifacts From Camp Five

To date, although the Camp 5 artifacts and/or photo documentation has been requested of the CT SHPO, I know of no town official or owners who have seen the artifacts since they were removed in 1999. We are told the reports are available at the University library and the Hartford office of SHPO, but neither the town nor the owners at the time of the dig has been provided any pictures, much less the report. The absence of local documentation makes it more difficult to explain why the use of some of the land should be restricted now when Bolton is deciding how to use the property.