Special Edition

Febuary 22, 1999

Editor Hans DePold, Bolton Town Historian


This newsletter is to provide the long awaited special edition with the how-to-do-it procedure for registering the Revolutionary Road in each state along the route. In all cases, mail is preferable to e-mail. The procedure can be used for other important projects.

How To Do It

How to get the segments of the Revolutionary Road registered in the National Register of Historic Places. There is no set way to do it, but there are several groups that would likely form a partnership to get the job done. If your state’s designated “Preservation Officer” has the funding and the initiative, the process is simple and Jack Shannahan (in CT) has the experience and information to make this partnership grow across state lines. But if your states funding of heritage preservation has been waning, then you may have to rally your resources. This special edition can help you get started.

1. The State Preservation Officer is ultimately responsible for supervising the archaeological and historical research that is required to create the report needed for the National Register process. There may be a State Historical Commission to which the Historical Preservation Officer reports. The state agency has the experience but depends on your help in creating the partnership to advocate, and support the decision of your Governor and the State Legislature to fund the project. They need to be assured that you have a critical mass and then they will support the legislation. They will provide the cost estimates and the timetable for the legislative champion. The cost of the project can run $2000 per archaeological dig and more for documentation. For example in Connecticut the total initial cost estimate was $82,000.

State Preservation Officers
Mr. Daniel Griffith
Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs
Dover, DE 19903
302-739-5313 Fax: 302-739-6711

Ms. Judith McDonough, SHPO
Massachusetts Historical Commission
220 Morrisey Boulevard
Boston, MA 02125
617-727-8470 Fax:617-727-5128

Mr. Robert C. Shinn, SHPO
Dept. of Environmental Protection
CN-402,401 East State Street
Trenton, NJ 08625
609-292-2885 Fax: 609-292-7696

Ms. Ruth L. Pierpont, Acting Director
Bureau of Field Service
NY State Parks, Rec. & Hist. Pres.
Peeble Island P.O. 189
Waterford, NY 12188-1089
518-237-8643 x 269
Fax: 518-233-9049

Dr. Brent D. Glass, SHPO
Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Comm.
P.O. Box 1026
Harrisburg, PA 17108
717-787-2891 Fax 717-783-1073

Mr. Edward F Sanderson, Deputy SHPO
Rhode Island Historical Preservation Comm.
Old State House, 150 Benefit Street
Providence, RI 02903
401-222-2678 Fax: 401-227-2968
(no e-mail)

Mr. Alexander Wise, Jr. SHPO
Department of Historic Resources
221 Governor Street
Richmond, VA 23219

Mr. J Rodney Little SHPO
Maryland Historical Trust
100 Community Place 3rd floor
Crownsville, MD 21032
410-514-7600 Fax: 410-414-7678

Connecticut Historical Commission
Dr. John Shannahan, Director
59 South Prospect Street
Hartford, CT; 860-566-3005
Fax -5078

2. Your legislative champion probably should represent one or more of the communities along the route so that he/she has a deeper understanding of the economic and environmental value as well as the heritage value to their community. It should be someone who is willing to take a stand and attend key functions. The representative provides a list of go to write to. They need a partnership with you their constituents. The active constituents need to write and show up when needed, and the representative tries to provide the opportunities and to advise when it is the right moment and what strategy to use. In Connecticut, the first bill did not get out of committee and few legislators understood it. The second time our champion split the cost in half for each of two years, and twenty-four State Representatives and State Senators co-signed the bill. It still did not get passed but it was then known as worthwhile. We provided a list of all legislators to the small groups of active constituents along the route and constituents from all walks of life wrote asking for support. The third time we repeated what was done the first two years plus we had a reception for the legislators one evening in the Legislative Office Building. We had speakers, re-enactors, plus music by the Coventry Ancient Fife and Drum Corps. A grant of $30,000 for Phase 1 passed, enough to draw up the official map of the road and to document buildings and monuments relating to the march of the French Army. This year the Governor supported the project in his budget. If the current bill passes it will be funded with revenue from the tourism industry and will be a part of the State Historic Preservation Office budget for two or three more years. Yet our partnership must go on. The project does not end with the listing of the route.

We can show that heritage preservation makes a good business case if the entire route is listed and recognized. Then important historic sites along the route will have an infrastructure and a theme to build upon so that eventually they pay their own way with tourism.

3. Francophone Commissions: Some states may have state Francophone commissions. In Connecticut the commission is the Governor’s and is listed in the state’s blue book. The Francophone commission unites French cultural groups with veteran’s organizations, historical groups, and other volunteers. Souvenir Francais is the main champion for Francophone groups and Franco-American heritage preservation. They provide a linkage with many other groups that support Franco-American Heritage.

Mr. Christian Bickert, President
Souvenir Français
141 E 44th Street
NY, NY 10017

Colonel Serge Gabriel,
President New England Committee of Souvenir Français
Meadgate Apts
101 H Lewis
Greenwich, CT 06830-6662

4. Cultural and Tourism Partners: Listing of the route in the National Register is only the beginning for educational and cultural programs. Heritage preservation based tourism builds on the unique historic and cultural aspects of the communities along the Revolutionary Road. French cultural groups and Souvenir Francais have a great interest in this heritage. It is something to be very proud of. They have a partnership that extends across state lines. Tourism validates the value of our heritage by generating jobs and tax revenues. The individual states are trying to preserve heritage and boost their economies. This route, perhaps more than any other trail offers the potential for listing in the European Michelin Guide of places to visit in the U.S. There will need to be a coherent program of activities along the route within each state and between states. Eventually the French cultural organizations and the tourism agencies will fill that role. You can look up your Tourism District in the blue pages of the phone book. There may be several in your state. There are four covering the route in CT alone.

5. Re-enactors: Much of today’s Revolutionary War education is experienced at the encampments of the re-enactors. The re-enactors bring new life to the ideas and ideals of the patriots, and in doing so they transport us to the age of reason where liberty was incubated, and where our French midwife delivered the first true democratic republic into the world. Today the school boards along the route have yet to learn their own important local history. As they do, the special character of the Revolutionary War campsites and the period taverns and historic homes in their environs, will give roots to our communities and educational systems. We need education to give our children their roots first and then their wings. The re-enactors spread the message along the entire route and embody the sentiment that cemented the original union of states. Their role is always there and needed.

6. The SAR the DAR and the Society of the Cincinnati: The SAR and DAR have had a permanent presence in national heritage preservation. The Society of the Cincinnati is made up of descendants of the American, French, and other officers who served as General Washington’s officers. Their very involvement validates the significance of the heritage we are trying to list and preserve. It gives credibility of eventual success of the entire project or in fact any other project they undertake. To be effective they need to form partnerships across state lines as well as within their states. They manage much of our heritage. See what they are doing in CT.

7. Municipal Historians and Historical Societies: These groups represent the heritage preservation based interest within the local communities. To be effective they need to form partnerships with neighboring towns to support programs and grant applications.

8. French Ambassador and French Counsel General: Letters from these high French offices to your Governor gives a sense of great importance, and infuses energy into the groups seeking legislation to preserve Franco-American and State Francophone Commissions. We asked for and got letters in 1994 when two encampments were endangered.

The Honorable François Bujon de l’Estang The Honorable Richard Duque
Ambassade de France aux Etats-Unis Consulat General de France a New York
Francois Bujon de l’Estang 934 Fifth Avenue
Washington, DC New York, N.Y. 10021
212-606-3623 Fax -3620

Tasks that need to be done in each state:

1) Contact your state agency that will have project responsibility (preservation officers are listed at top). Ask them to join the other states to list the entire Revolutionary Road in the National Register of Historic Places. All of them have recently received copies of the Revolutionary Road newsletters. They can contact the Connecticut Historical Commission; Dr. John Shannahan, Director; 59 South Prospect Street; Hartford, CT; 860-566-3005 Fax -5078

2) Join a partnership group or start one. Identify a focal point(s) for each of the partner groups. Perhaps you are a focal point. If not, be an individual contributor. Share your information on dedicated people and how they may be contacted.

3) Identify a champion in each state legislature. Try your own legislators to see if they could be dedicated to and articulate on the subject. See who is on relevant legislative committees.

4) Document French and Continental Army activity on your section of the route.

5) Help your legislative champion introduce legislation to get the ball rolling. Always keep your Preservation Officer in the loop and support the bread and butter proposals as well.

6) Write articles about Revolutionary Road history for the newspapers.

7) Begin planning and discussing how the Revolutionary Road infrastructure can become a tourism, educational, and cultural asset.

In Connecticut, just two people initially wrote letters to get things started. It only takes a spark.