Thursday, March 4, 2010

What? Close Washington's Headquarters?

It seems that the State of New York is suffering a lapse of good judgment or our deep financial crisis is at a breaking point. I would submit, ladies and gentlemen, that it is a combination of both that leads the state to propose the closing of Washington's Headquarters at Newburgh.
I found an article in the Mid Hudson News Network that quotes an official from Scenic Hudson that the proposal is on the the table to not fund America's first historic site.
In 1859, a group of concerned citizens rallied together to stop the extension of Grand Street through "the old house." They stopped the demolition of the building and incorporated into the The Historical Society of the Newburgh Bay and Highlands.

It was in this "old house" that our nation was born by the cessation of arms to end the Revolutionary War in 1783. Here, Washington had refused to become a "King" George and the first Purple Hearts were awarded. I came across a great article about Newburgh's importance in the founding of this great nation. Please read...Newburgh and President's Day.

My connection to this state historic site is not as thick as it was when I was Newburgh City Historian or when my dear friend Tom Hughes was the curator. But I have been informed, quietly so, that many historic objects and documents have been removed from the museum and the old house over the past two years. I did address this removal issue with state officials. In addition, I spoke with an employee at Washington's HQ and was told my concerns were accurate.

It is a shame that historic items would be relocated out of Newburgh. It is a travesty that Washington's Headquarters would be on the cutting block because of the ongoing financial dissolution of New York State.

More than any other landmark, Washington's Headquarters at Newburgh is the soul of our city and the womb of every right we hold dear. Thousands of people visit this landmark of note. It is an anchor for businesses along Liberty Street and a jewel in the middle of urban decline. It is emblazoned on our city seal, our fire and police emblems, our website, our city charter and all that is Newburgh.

If Washington's Headquarters at Newburgh - which stands for the birthplace of our endearing freedoms and rights - cannot be sustained, what else could fail?


  1. Thanks for letting us know about this. This place should be one of our country's most sacred shrines.

    BTW, I never would have guessed that any part of Newburgh looked like the above photo. Is it really Newburgh? If so, I definitely would like to visit sometime.

  2. Do you have any details about what items were moved out of the building? Sounds like a shame.

  3. The picture is an early rendering of the Hasbrouck House or better know as Washington's Headquarters in Newburgh. I used this one because it was nicely colored. Newburgh does not look like that these days. I would encourage your visit and I would enjoy being your tour guide. There is a tremendous amount of history here to be seen.

    As to bootsinrain: I am certain they removed certain ephemera and furniture. I was mostly disturbed to hear they moved Andrew Jackson Downing's collection of pruning knives, tools, and other items.

  4. Kevin,

    The photo I was referring to is the street scene at the top of your blog. Either way, I look forward to taking you up on your offer some time. I still like the idea of a bicycle expedition to Newburgh in 2013.

    John Gorentz aka The Spokesrider

  5. The picture on the top is Broadway Newburgh. It is a great street in need of some structure. Eventually, I will establish a Business Improvement District there.
    I do hope you come this way. I will be starting a historic tour in Newburgh this spring. I was thinking of making it a walking tour, but you gave me a good idea: bicycles.
    In 2013, I will be running again for Orange County Legislator. We can make some press about your bicycle expedition and Newburgh being your destination.