Knox's Headquarters, Vail's Gate, NY
Once known as Mount Ellison, this elegant fieldstone mansion showcases the mix of English and Dutch influences in the Hudson Valley's history. Built in 1754, the property was the country estate of John and Catharine Ellison, prosperous gentry whose house and gristmill operations were served by a staff of enslaved Africans. During the Revolutionary War, the property served as a bustling military headquarters for some of Washington's highest-ranking officers, including Generals Henry Knox, Nathanial Greene, and Horatio Gates. Rooms are carefully furnished in period style, including a slave quarters and several unique "hands on" rooms where guests may handle reproductions of original furnishings and clothing. Occasional living history programs, cooking demonstrations, and special theme tours bring to life the house and grounds as they were when shared by the Ellisons and their military guests.
Hiking trails allow guests to explore the woodlands and provide a dramatic vantagepoint for viewing the ruins of the Ellison family's 1741 gristmill and the stone King's Highway Bridge crossing the Silver Stream gorge. The Jane Colden Native Plant Sanctuary, also on the grounds, recalls America's first woman botanist through a collection of the plants she catalogued while living nearby. Visitors can walk the wooded trail lined with wildflowers. Cross-country skiing trails provide opportunities to explore the site in its winter glory.
Knox's Headquarters State Historic Site has been named as a significant stop on the Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area Revolutionary War trail.
Winter hours: Grounds are open throughout the winter, but with limited accessibility in snow or icy conditions.
**Other times by appointment.** Special events on selected days throughout the year.
Telephone: (845) 561-1765 ext. 22.
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Knox’s Headquarters & New Windsor Cantonment State Historic Sites
PO Box 207, Vails Gate, NY 12584
Phone: 845-561-1765 Fax: 845-561-6577
“Through the Ranks”
Step back in time to the 1782-83 encampment of General George Washington’s Continental Army as your guides in period-style dress bring you “through the ranks” of the Continental Army and through the lifestyles of Americans, from the gentry and officers, through the slaves and soldiers.
Your day begins at the country estate of John and Catharine Ellison as you tour an elegant home built in 1754, furnished as the headquarters that served three of Washington’s top generals during the Revolutionary War. See military offices, the Ellison family’s living areas and the cramped quarters where six enslaved Africans served the household. Visit the ruins of a 1741 grist mill in the scenic Silver Stream gorge where Hudson Valley wheat was turned into flour destined for markets in the West Indies and Europe. The lifestyle of the gentry who lived here and officers who served here is contrasted with that of the families who lived in the army camp nearby.
The tour continues two miles away at the Cantonment, the military enclave that once boasted nearly 600 log buildings housing 7,500 soldiers and 500 of their wives and children. The activities of this thriving community are represented through living history demonstrations including blacksmithing, medical treatment and musket drill. Here General Washington headed off a military challenge to the new nation and ordered the cease-fire that brought the Revolutionary War to a close.
This three hour program is adaptable for primary and secondary school students. Admission is currently $3 per person and subject to change. Please note, this popular tour is generally booked six months or more in advance. Please call Michael McGurty at 845-561-1765 to inquire about this and other educational programs.
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