Washington’s Headquarters, Newburgh, New York – The Victory Tower

Recently renovated it now looks as it did when it was built. When I was last there (January 2017) the roof and the area immediately below it were no longer there, having been destroyed in a hurricane in the 1950s.

According to the Hudson Valley Magazine:

A 132-year-old monument to peace is reopening on historic grounds in Newburgh.

The ribbon will be cut April 27 on the restored Tower of Victory on the grounds of Washington’s Headquarters State Historic Site, and — for the first time since 1953 — visitors can climb to the belvedere at the top and enjoy beautiful views of the Hudson River and the Highlands.

The 53-ft-tall limestone monument features four large archways. An atrium inside the structure holds staircases leading to the belvedere, as well as a red granite pedestal with a life-size bronze of George Washington sculpted by William Rudolf O’Donovan. The belvedere commands a direct view of Mount Beacon, where Revolutionary War fires were lit to signal approaching British vessels.

The construction of the Tower of Victory commemorated the end of the Revolutionary War 100 years earlier. In 1883, Secretary of War Robert T. Lincoln, the first son of U.S. President Abraham Lincoln and his wife Mary, commissioned well-known architect John Hemenway Duncan to design the structure on the property where Washington created the “Badge of Military Merit,” now called the Purple Heart medal. It was completed in 1887.

Even back then, Hudson Valley builders kept things local: The foundation of the tower was made in part from Rosendale Cement, and the stone was quarried near Newburgh, as well as from a quarry in Albany. Originally, an iron tile roof was supported by 13 large limestone columns. Four bronze statues of soldiers were added to the niches of the tower’s east and west exterior walls — each statue represented a branch of the military that had served during the American Revolution: dragoons, artillerymen, riflemen, and line officers. Four finely detailed bronze gates were added to each arch to prevent vandalism and/or the unauthorized removal of tower artifacts.

In November 1950, hurricane winds damaged the tower’s tile roof, and the state originally proposed the monument’s destruction. Outcry by local residents saved the structure. In 1953, a decision was made to remove the roof, and the Tower was no longer open to the public.

A $1.6 million capital campaign by the Palisades Park Conservancy culminated in the current restoration of the tower.

Taken with a Sony RX-100 M3.

Washington’s Headquarters, Newburgh, New York – Overview

Today’s excursion took us to General George Washington’s Headquarters (his last wartime HQ) in the Hasbrouk House in Newburgh, NY. He stayed there from April 1782 until August 1783 and it was here that he issued an order for the “cessation of hostilities”, and gave his Proclamation of Peace, which formally ended the fighting of the Revolutionary War. We also visited the museum and toured the interior of the house, but unfortunately photography was forbidden in both locations.

Taken with a Sony RX-100 M3.

Peekskill Summer Sounds

We were hungry so we went for a meal first – outside at 12 Peekskill Lounge on Division Street, which was closed for the event. We were just around the corner from where the music was so we could hear, but not see the bands.

After we’d finished our meal we went around the corner and took a seat with the assembled multitudes (see below) to listen to the headline act: a Billy Joel Tribute Band called “River of Dreams”.

There’s a very nice bookstore (Bruised Apple Books, the last store on the left in the second picture) in the same location. These pictures were taken around 9:30pm so I didn’t expect it to be open, but to my surprise it was. I took a look around and came out with “Die Schöpfung” (The Creation) by Ernst Haas in the original German (which luckily I can still just about read).

Broader view of the people watching “River of Dreams”

Taken with a Sony RX-100 M3.