Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation

Press Release

July 22, 2021

Dan Keefe | Brian Nearing
(518) 486-1868 |

New York State Parks Announces Improved Grounds Open at Washington Headquarters State Historic Site

ADA Accessibility Enhanced at Nation's First Publicly-Owned State Historic Site

State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation Commissioner Erik Kulleseid announced today that pathway, accessibility and parking improvements are completed at Washington's Headquarters State Historic Site in Newburgh, Orange County.

"This project makes the grounds of the nation's first publicly-owned historic site more open and accessible to all under the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) to experience a beautiful and historic setting in the Hudson Valley where General Washington made critical decisions that helped shape the new United States," said Kulleseid."The headquarters has been state property since 1850, so we are the latest in a line of stewards to preserve this for the coming generations. We are committed to ensuring this inspiring place is welcoming and inclusive to all who visit from America and around the world." 

"New York's Hudson Valley witnessed numerous pivotal moments during the Revolutionary War," said Joshua Laird, Executive Director of the Palisades Interstate Park Commission. "Many in places that are now preserved as historic sites that remind us of the struggle for American Independence.  This project expands access to the nation's first publicly owned historic site and the longest-serving headquarters used by General Washington during the war. In doing so, it also extends a legacy of conservation in the Palisades that has allowed special places of nature and history to be preserved for generations to come."

Begun last summer, the $1.8 million project funded under NY Works included repair of existing bluestone walkways, enhancement of accessible parking, new fencing, and improvements to accessible paths on nearly seven acres of grounds overlooking the Hudson River. Pathways and parking are now ADA compliant.

Work also reinstalled the East Gate and established an ADA-compliant path to the recently restored Tower of Victory, which was built in 1887 to mark the centennial of victory in the War for Independence. Improved exterior lighting and drainage were also installed. A new 60-foot flagpole and new flags also were added with support from the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution and Friends of the State Historic Sites of the Hudson Highlands (FSHSHH).

Design work was performed by The LA Group Landscape Architects, of Saratoga Springs, and construction by Meyer Contracting, of Pleasant Valley.

Site staff also is launching a new program, ‘Framing History: A Year in Pictures,' where the public will be invited to submit photos of the site throughout the four seasons for a virtual image gallery. The program can be found online here.

Senator James Skoufis said, "I applaud our state parks leadership on the successful completion of these much-needed improvements. Washington's Headquarters is a beloved piece of Newburgh's historical and cultural fabric for locals and visitors alike, and new attention to accessibility throughout the site will enhance and expand visitorship all year-round. I look forward to enjoying the grounds this season and seeing this American treasure in full-swing in the months and years ahead."

Assembly member Jonathan Jacobson said, "Washington's Headquarters in the city of Newburgh is one of the most significant sites in American revolutionary history, so I'm grateful that New York Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation has made such a significant investment in improving ADA accessibility and preserving the grounds for visitors today and into the future."

Newburgh City Mayor Torrance Harvey said, "The Washington Headquarters State Historic site is one of the most important landmarks in our city.  It is nested perfectly within our historic east-end directly overlooking our beautiful Hudson River to the east, inside of our revitalized Liberty Street corridor.  President George Washington would be very proud of these new accessibility enhancements!  They provide an important element to the texture and very fabric of our city and will encourage tourism and a great sense of nostalgia as we reflect upon our great democracy.  We the Newburgh city government thank State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation Commissioner Erik Kulleseid and the entire staff at our Hasbrouck House.  The Victory Tower can be seen from afar and so too can the victories of our great historic city".

Jonathan Ridgeway, FSHSHH President, said, "The Friends of the State Historic Sites of the Hudson Highlands thank and congratulate everyone who has been involved in the monumental landmark initiative to achieve such a brilliant landscape improvement of the grounds of Washington's Headquarters in Newburgh, the first state owned historic site in the nation.  They have found a unique way to maximize the potential utilization of all of the property's remarkable features while maintaining strict conformance with period layout concepts, to create a most informative and enjoyable environment for tourists and visitors to the site."

Heather Loebner, Executive Director of the Palisades Parks Conservancy, said, "As we have partnered to renovate the historic site's Tower of Victory, and support annual educational programming at Washington's Headquarters, Palisades Parks Conservancy recognizes how important the site's recent improvements are for the visitor experience. This is a perfect juncture in which to launch the site's creative approach to engaging visitors in their newest program ‘Framing History: A Year in Pictures' at Washington's Headquarters, which launches August 1st. We are excited to co-host this new initiative."

From April 1782 to August 1783 as Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army, Washington made his headquarters and residence at Jonathan and Tryntje Hasbrouck family's fieldstone farmhouse in Newburgh. It was the longest he stayed at any headquarters throughout the 8 1/2 years of the revolution. The Hasbrouck house is furnished to reflect Washington's stay and is open for guided tours. Here, the general, his wife Martha, officers, servants, and slaves lived and worked in close quarters, while a steady stream of guests met with the Washingtons.

In the critical months that the general spent at Newburgh, he made some of his most important contributions to shaping the American republic. It was here that Washington:

  • Rejected the suggestion of an American monarchy.
  • Ended the Newburgh Conspiracy, preventing potential military control of the government.
  • Created the Badge of Military Merit, forerunner of the Purple Heart.
  • Circulated an influential letter to state governors outlining the key principals he felt necessary for the new republic.
  • Announced the Cessation of Hostilities that ended fighting in the Revolutionary War.

In 1910, a museum building was added to house and display the site's extensive collection of historic artifacts. The site is open 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Wednesday through Saturday, and 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday. It is closed Monday and Tuesday.  Please contact the site at 845-562-1195 for reservations and information.

The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation oversees more than 250 parks, historic sites, recreational trails, golf courses, boat launches and more, which were visited by a record 78 million in 2020. For more information on any of these recreation areas, call 518-474-0456 or visit, connect with us on Facebook, or follow on Instagram, Twitter or on the State Parks blog