Fort Hardy – Schuyler’s Canal Park is the site of the British laying down of arms at the surrender of the British to the Americans. This was the first major victory for the Americans and convinced the France, Spain and the Netherlands that the tiny united colonies might just win against the most powerful army in the world.
The site is now a quiet park that all may enjoy. It rests between part of the old Champlain Canal (a dream of General Schuyler), and the mighty Hudson River, a main avenue of trade in the 18th and 19th century. The Park is maintained by the Village of Schuylerville and is the site of many events during the year, from the Turning Point Parade in August to river contests, youth sport activities, and other recreational events during the summer, fall and winter.
The Village Beach has been the site of weekly community concerts during the summer months. The concerts are free and open to visitors and all members of the community. They are sponsored by the Schuylerville Chamber of Commerce. The beach is a special place for village residents and there are continuing conversations about how to improve it, increase usage, and make it a place for community events.
The Lock 5 Champlain Canal Park is an active operating lock on the Champlain Canal that has been in operation since 1823. Visitors can see boats raised and lowered in the Hudson River and view the machinery that moves the ships and water. This site was one that served as a model for the Panama Canal. Nearby, are canal boats available for hire to take you for rides through the lock and along the Hudson River.
The Youth Center was originally developed to provide a place for the youth of the Village of Schuylerville to engage in various recreational activities under adult supervision. After using local churches for a number of years, a building was erected in Fort Hardy Park to serve the youth of the community. Numerous organizations use the facility for youth activities. These include, but are not limited too, Little League, Boy Scouts/Girl Scouts, and Schuylerville Family Day. In the power outage of 2007, the Youth Center served as a Warming Center, providing a place to get warm and a hot lunch. Village residents are able to use the Youth Center for family parties.
Hudson’s Crossing Bi-County Park is a new site located on an island in the Hudson River. The island has been an occupied site for over 10,000 years and is now home to a proposed environmental center, a new children’s park, docking facility and hike and ride areas. It sponsors “Hudson Fest” each September.
Stark’s Knob, named after Revolutionary War General John Stark, is one of America’s oldest science parks. It is a 460 million year old site created by an eruption of volcanic basalt in a pillow-like formation in the sea somewhere in the area of where the State of Connecticut is located today. Small fossil remains of prehistoric sea creatures have been found at the site and studied by geologists from all over the world.
During the American Revolution, General Stark placed his cannon her to block Burgoyne’s retreat after the Battles of Saratoga. This site is owned and operated by the New York State Museum and is open daily to the public. Contact www.nysm.nysed.gov for additional information.
Saratoga National Historical Park was the scene of two bloody battles that forever changed the history of the world. It remained peaceful farmland and a logging area until early 1925 when the local Rotary Club held a luncheon at the battleground and two men, Adolph Ochs, owner of the New York Times and George Slingerland, Mayor of Mechanicville, NY, met and decided to pool their interest and funds to create a park to honor the great events that happened there. By 1927, their combined efforts had borne fruit and 160,000 people came to see a great pageant that opened the new Saratoga Battle Field as a New York State Historic Site.
When Franklin D. Roosevelt became Governor of New York, he became greatly interested in the Battle Field. He gave tours of the site to friends and famous persons of the day. Upon becoming President of the United States, he set about to make the Battlefield into a National Park. This happened in 1938.
When World War II began, President Roosevelt asked for an inventory of the cannon surrendered by the British. The War Department did locate them and informed the President that the cannon from Saratoga, like all other non-essential artillery pieces, were to be turned over to the scrap metal drive. The Secretary of War suggested the President might save the cannon of Saratoga and also the cannon of Gettysburg and all other sites so important to Americans. Roosevelt saved the Saratoga cannon and those seen by tourists all over the nation. Click here to view photo.
The National Park Service maintains a Visitor’s Center open all year and a driving/walking/hiking bicycle road through thousands of acres of the Park. There are a variety of events open to the public each year. For more information contact: www.nps.gov/sara
Old Saratoga Pocket Parks is a program intended to interpret areas of historical interest in the Schuylerville/Victory area within Lakes to Locks Passage, a nationally designated All-American Road.
The central theme for the Pocket Parks is the military history surrounding the Battles of Saratoga. Prominent historic features are the Schuyler House and the Saratoga Monument which are interpreted by the National Park Service. The secondary theme for the community is a continuous section of the old Champlain Canal that runs through the Village of Schuylerville.
The Pocket Parks will help visitiors and residents alike in putting individual historical sites throughout the area into context and offer a unified presentation of the importance of this locale in American history.