The odds are good that you haven’t been able to visit some of your favorite Revolutionary War sites during the Covid-19 pandemic. Many of these locations rely on foot traffic for their annual income and may be struggling to stay afloat amidst various state lockdowns and a smaller number of visitors. (We left out many national, state, and local parks, which sometimes have access to government funds. But, they often have partnerships with non-profit foundations that provide vital support for their activities.) So, we decided to start a list of museums and parks that you can help out now and visit as circumstances allow. No doubt it will grow. The list does not constitute a solicitation or endorsement, but many of our historians visited some of these museums in the past and found them really helpful to our own work. (You may need to copy and paste some links.) If you search our “weekender” posts, there are even more sites to support and visit when you can.
Last, but not least, we couldn’t leave out the American Battlefield Trust, which does awesome work preserving and expanding historic space, but also has some excellent educational material online and battlefield touring apps you may want to check out in preparation for your future touring activities!
Feel free to add your own favorite sites in the comments!
Putnam Memorial State Park, Redding, CT
Known as “Connecticut’s Valley Forge,” this was the site of a campsite during the winter of 1778-79. The park includes a visitor center, monuments, and walking trails.
Lexington and Concord
Well, what can we say. Lexington and Concord need no introduction.
ERW Content: August in Lexington, An Account of April 19, 1775
Covenhoven House, Monmouth, NJ
During the the Monmouth Campaign, General George Clinton established his headquarters at the home of William and Elizabeth Covenhoven. The house still stands and is run by the Monmouth County Historical Association.
Association Site: https://www.monmouthhistory.org/covenhoven-house
ERW Content: “A damned old rebel, with one foot in the grave”: The Deposition of Elizabeth Covenhoven, Monmouth County, New Jersey, July 30, 1778
Drake House Museum, Plainfield, NJ
Used briefly by Washington prior to the battle of Short Hills, the home is a museum with exhibits inside.
Miller House, White Plains NY
This is one of the few remnants of the battle of White Plains, serving as Washington’s headquarters. A Friend group is restoring the house.
Fort Laurens, Bolivar, OH
Fort Laurens was a Continental Fort established west of the Ohio River and underwent a siege in 1778/1779 before eventually being abandoned. Today, it is managed by Historic Zoar Village.
Museum Website: https://fortlaurens.org
ERW Content: Revolution on the Ohio Frontier: Fort Laurens
Historic Hannas town, Greensburg, PA
Site of the Westmoreland County Courthouse, it was attacked in one of the last acts of the war in Pennsylvania. Today visitors to Hannas town will find several reconstructed buildings such as a tavern, home, and the fort.
ERW Content: War on the PA Frontier
Camden, of course, is the site of a major American battlefield defeat marking the effective end of General Horatio Gates’ field career. Today, local history is preserved at park with several historic buildings.
ERW Content: Visiting the Scene of Action: Battle of Camden, “In the deepest distress and anxiety of mind…” Gen. Gates letter to Congress on the Battle of Camden
Carlyle House, Alexandria, VA
John Carlyle was a colonial merchant who built one of the finest homes in Alexandria, Virginia. During the French and Indian War, Major General Edward Braddock famously brought together the governors of Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, and Virginia to consider their strategy. Today it is managed by NOVA Parks.
Museum Site: https://www.novaparks.com/parks/carlyle-house-historic-park
ERW Content: Visiting Carlyle House, The Carlyle House Congress and Britain’s Military Objectives for 1755
Gadsby’s Tavern, Alexandria, VA
Gadsby’s Tavern is working Revolutionary War–period tavern and museum in Alexandria, VA. Just about every notable personage visiting George Washington at nearby Mount Vernon dined there.
Museum Site: https://www.alexandriava.gov/GadsbysTavern
ERW Content: George Washington’s Hometown: Alexandria, VA
George Mason’s Gunston Hall, Mason Neck, VA
Gunston Hall was the home of George Mason and is a functioning museum today.
Museum Site: https://gunstonhall.org
ERW Content: George Mason’s Gunston Hall
George Washington’s Office, Winchester, VA
George Washington was a frequent, albeit temporary, resident of Winchester, Virginia in the Shenandoah Valley as a young surveyor and commander of Virginia’s forces during the French and Indian War. Today, it is managed by the Winchester-Frederick County Historical Society, which has several history museums in the region.
Museum Site: https://winchesterhistory.org
ERW Content: George Washington, Daniel Morgan, and Winchester, Virginia on Memorial Day
Montpelier, Montpelier Station, VA
James Madison’s father began building the grand estate at Montpelier in Virginia’s Piedmont when the future President was a boy. Eventually, he owned it outright. Today it is a museum dedicated to him and the lives of those who lived on the plantation.
Museum Site: https://www.montpelier.org
ERW Content: ERW Weekender: In the Footsteps of James Madison
Mount Vernon, Mount Vernon, VA
No revolutionary tour of Virginia is complete without a visit to George Washington’s Mount Vernon, an estate he loved dearly and refined throughout his lifetime. It is located just south of Alexandria, VA, which boasts a number of colonial and Revolutionary War sites itself.
Estate Site: https://www.mountvernon.org
ERW Content: George Washington’s Hometown: Alexandria, Virginia
St. John’s Church Foundation
This is the site of Patrick Henry’s “Liberty or Death” speech. The church has several preservation projects in need of funding.
ERW Content: The Revolution in Richmond
Fort Randolph, Point Pleasant, WV
Fort Randolph was built where the Kanawha River empties into the Ohio River in today’s West Virginia. Originally constructed as Fort Blair to serve as a supply depot in Dunmore’s War, the frontier stockade played an important role as a frontier post during the American Revolution. A reproduction tells the fort’s story today.
Fort Site: https://fortrandolph.weebly.com
ERW Content: Chief Cornstalk’s American Revolution (part two), Lord Dunmore’s War: The Opening of the American Revolution
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