Guide to Historic Sites of the Hudson River & Champlain Region

American Heritage, Spring 2009 | Go to article overview
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Guide to Historic Sites of the Hudson River & Champlain Region



In celebration of the 400th anniversary of Samuel de Champlain's and Henry Hudson's exploration of New York--and their encounters with Lenape and Iroquoian peoples--the editors of American Heritage have selected the top historic sites along the watercourses they gave their names to.



Historic Cherry Hill

Home to the Van Rensselaer-Rankin family--one of the clans known as the "Hudson River manor lords"--from 1787 to 1963, the Georgian-style estate contains more than 20,000 objects and 30,000 manuscript documents amassed over five generations. Visitors can take guided tours of the mansion or participate in programs, such as the "Behind-the-Scenes Murder Investigation Tour," which examines the 1827 murder of John Whipple at Cherry Hill. (518) 434-4791 or

Ten Broeck Mansion

Completed 209 years ago by Gen. Abraham Ten Broeck, the New York Militia commander at the Battle of Saratoga in the fall of 1777, the Federal-style home has since undergone two major renovations in the Greek and Victorian styles. Visitors touring the 12-room house can see family portraits, period furnishings, and walk the lush gardens. (518) 436-9826 or

USS Slater

Moored on the Hudson River, the 1,200-ton, Cannon-class vessel is the only World War II destroyer escort still afloat in American waters. Complete with original batde armament and configuration, the onboard museum spreads across four decks--more than 80 percent of the ship--and gives visitors a sense of a sailor's daily life through the display of artifacts and memorabilia donated by sailors and their families. (518) 431-1943 or

The Van Schaick Mansion

Situated at the strategic junction of the Hudson and Mohawk Rivers, the 18th-century brick mansion served as a military headquarters during the French and Indian War, the Revolutionary War, and the War of 1812. The restored, Dutch colonial house museum contains 18th-century furniture donated by Alice Shelp, a Van Schaick descendant, and features rotating collections from the New York State Museum. (518) 235-2699 or

Watervliet Arsenal

Completed in 1813, the nation's oldest cannon manufactory supplied large-caliber cannons in the War of 1812. A small museum features exhibits on the evolution of large artillery and the arsenal's role in the war. Visitors can view 60- to 120- millimeter Abraham Tank mortars as well as a British 24 Pounder surrendered on October 7, 1777 at the Battle of Saratoga. (518) 266-5805 or



The Alice T. Miner Museum

Alice, the wife of railroad industrialist William H. Miner, purchased the 1824 stone house in the early 1920s as a place to store her collection of artwork of the Colonial Revival Movement, which flourished in the late 19th century. Collections include a display of miniature furniture--a gate legged table, chairs, and a chest--silhouettes, War of 1812 muskets, and historic scenes of the Battle of Plattsburgh. (518) 846-7336 or

Battle of Plattsburgh Interpretive Center and War of 1812 Museum

On September 11, 1814, American Gen. Alexander Macomb stopped the British advance into the northern states at Plattsburgh, New York. The on-site museum contains original works of art related to the Battle of Plattsburgh and the War of 1812 along with rotating exhibits. A five-by-fifteen-foot diorama depicts the battlefield from September 6 through the 11, when British and American troops clashed on land and sea. (518) 566-1814 or

Champlain Valley Transportation Museum

Located on the grounds of the former Plattsburgh Air Force Base, the museum contains examples of vehicles, boats, and railroad cars used in the Champlain Valley, including Native American canoes, barges, ferries, and a rare restored 1915 luxury Type 82 Lozier automobile, at one time the most expensive car in America.

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