SCHUYLERVILLE, NY (Oct. 20, 2017) — A 16-acre property overlooking the Hudson River in the town of Schuylerville owned by the Open Space Institute (OSI) will be the site of a planned Saratoga Surrender Site Memorial Park.
The hillside property, which had been in private hands since the Revolutionary War, was purchased by OSI in 2006. Following the purchase, OSI entered into a partnership with the Friends of Saratoga Battlefield and the Historic Hudson-Hoosic Partnership to develop a site plan for the acquired acreage. When the new park is completed, OSI will transfer the property to the National Park Service as an addition to Saratoga National Historical Park.
The Saratoga Surrender Site project will educate the public about the October 1777 Surrender at Saratoga, when an American Revolutionary War victory “shook the world.”
“This site marks the turning point of the Revolutionary War,” said Kim Elliman, president and CEO of OSI. “In protecting this landscape, we are helping to preserve one of this area’s greatest historical treasures.”
Plans for the project call for the Memorial Park at the exact spot of the surrender, about a mile south of the village center of Schuylerville, where the British General John Burgoyne turned over his sword to American General Horatio Gates, following the history-changing Battles of Saratoga.
The project will build an orientation area and pathways leading to a half-moon-shaped wall, which will include information about the site’s significance. The centerpiece will be a large bas-relief of John Trumbull’s 1821 masterpiece painting, “Surrender of General Burgoyne,” which hangs in the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. A gazebo and nature trail will also be developed.
“The British army had lost other battles before,” said Eric Schnitzer, an historical park ranger. “They had lost at places such as Trenton, Princeton and Bennington. Saratoga was the first time in history that a British army surrendered in the field. When they did so, everybody noticed. That was shocking.”
When news reached Europe, France decided to support America’s struggle for independence. Also, Spain and the Netherlands joined in alliances against Great Britain. Fighting in other parts of the globe helped the United States by causing Great Britain to divert resources away from the American Revolution.
An official groundbreaking on the Memorial Park is expected next spring, with hopes of having the project completed by October 2018.