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Hudson Valley Press

November 11th, 2008

Revolutionary War Beacons

On November 25, 2008, to celebrate the 225th anniversary of the evacuation of the United States of America by British troops, the Palisades Parks Conservancy, in collaboration with the Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area, Scenic Hudson, the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, and Palisades Interstate Park Commission will symbolically light five beacon sites that replicate the original signal locations used by the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War. These vital systems summoned the militia in both New York and in neighboring New Jersey and warned residents of the approaching British Redcoats. The types of beacons varied from tar barrels on top of poles, to pyramids, to wooden towers filled with dried grass or hay that could be ignited. The beacons enabled quick and effective communication with troops throughout the lower Hudson River Valley.

Instead of lighting fires, Palisades, the Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area, and Scenic Hudson will create a symbolic Xenon light display that will light up Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area from Bear Mountain State Park to Beacon. This project is also part of the larger interstate effort with national heritage area partners in New Jersey, the Crossroads of the American Revolution National Heritage Area. Six additional Beacons will be lit in New Jersey. The total project area will stretch from Princeton, NJ to Beacon, NY.

New York's landscape, people, and natural resources directly affected the course of our nation's struggle for independence. Without the Hudson River Valley, victory might not have been achieved. During the Revolutionary War, this region was the setting for many important events and strategic conflicts: the battles of Forts Clinton and Montgomery and Stony Point, as well as the fortification of West Point and the Hudson River chain. It is also home to General George Washington's headquarters and the Revolutionary War peace monument, the "Tower of Victory" in Newburgh, the New Windsor Cantonment, and Knox's Headquarters in Vail Gate, all National Historic Landmarks. Of immense importance, General Washington spent a year and a half here in this strategic location planning the eventual outcome of the war.

Countless men and women from this region proudly served, hoping for freedom, liberty, and sovereignty. By helping protect, unite and advance these sites, the Palisades Interstate Park Commission, the Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area, Scenic Hudson, and the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, are expanding the public's knowledge about the people, places, and events that transformed American history.

Five locations in New York State will be used to commemorate this important event in American history. These locations include:

Bear Mountain State Park, Bear Mountain, NY
Storm King Mountain State Park, Cornwall, NY
Washington's Headquarters State Historic Site, Newburgh, NY
Scenic Hudson's Mount Beacon, Beacon, NY
Scenic Hudson's Spy Rock (Snake Hill), New Windsor, NY

The five locations were selected because they stretch across a significant section of the Hudson Valley National Heritage Area. In addition to the historical significance of the locations, they also highlight important parts of our landscape that have been preserved through both public and private efforts
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