Developers Putting IHOP on Revolutionary War Grave Site?
Will a Hudson Valley site of the American Revolution now become home to the International House of Pancakes?
A report by Real Clear Life says that IHOP has been making plans to put a restaurant on the site of the Fishkill Supply Depot. The 70-acre parcel of land off or I-84 and Route 9 in Fishkill is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. In 2009 an archeological study determined that hundreds of soldiers from the Revolutionary War are actually buried in unmarked graves throughout the Depot, making it the largest known burial site of Revolutionary War soldiers in the country.
The encampment served as major supply depot for George Washington's army and was the center of operations for much of the war. The Van Wyck Homestead, which is located on part of the land just north of the Speedway gas station on Route 9 in Fishkill, was used during the war by Washington, Alexander Hamilton, John Jay and the Marquis de Lafayette.
The hit Broadway musical "Hamilton" has sparked a renewed interest in many of the historic areas in the Hudson Valley, with some of them serving as actual locations for the historic events depicted in the Tony Award winning production.
A project called The Continental Commons is being proposed by developers in an area of the registered land just south of the Speedway gas station on Route 9. According to the project's website, the Continental Commons is being planned to resemble an 18th century colonial village with "restaurants, shops, a hotel, a visitor center and a living museum." Organizers claim that details like brick sidewalks and cobblestone streets will make the shopping center double as a tourist destination. IHOP is just one of the businesses that have reportedly already shown interest in being a part of the shopping center.
According to an organization called the Friends of the Fishkill Supply Depot, there are already too many businesses that have been built on the encampment. Besides the Speedway gas station, the Dutchess Mall; Home Depot and Maya Cafe all sit atop what historians are characterizing as sacred ground.
Friends of the Fishkill Supply Depot are opposing the construction of the Continental Commons for a few reasons, including archeological studies that have identified a long-lost soldiers’ cemetery on the land where an estimated 320 soldiers lie in unmarked graves. The organization also believes that commercial development will "destroy unique ruins, dishonor the memory of the heroes who served (and are buried) at the site, and permanently scar the historic landscape of Fishkill."
The Friends of the Fishkill Supply Depot are working to prevent further loss of the historic area to development. You can learn more about their mission and donate to the cause on their website.
We want to know what you think about the development of historic land in Dutchess County? Do you think it is important to preserve this historic land? Or do you think that boosting the local economy and developing land for the future is more important? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below or on our website.