Protecting Our Heritage
In addition to the direct benefits gained by protecting open space for environmental and recreational significance, the Open Space Institute also places great value in historical preservation.
We focus on landscapes steeped in colonial and revolutionary history, especially those along the Hudson River, where General Washington led the war for independence. But going back even farther are sites containing archeological traces of the lives of the native inhabitants of the Americas, from the Abenaki in the north to the Cherokees in the south, that date back to the Paleo-indian times more than 10,500 years ago. We preserve these sites, and the viewsheds that surround them, in honor of the past and for the enjoyment and education of current and future generations.
The Open Space Institute received the 2002 Historic Preservation Award from the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation for our outstanding contributions to the protection of New York’s scenic and historic landscapes.
Some examples of historic lands we have preserved include:
Washington’s Lookout, in Stony Point, NY, a rocky promontory with views of the Hudson River where it is believed General George Washington planned a surprise attack on British troops during the Revolutionary War;
The Saratoga National Historical Park Viewshed, the site of a series of pivotal battles in the fall of 1777 that turned the tide of the Revolutionary War. OSI protected 900 acres of farmland located directly across the Hudson River from the Park that was threatened with development;
Top Cottage, the retrreat of Franklin Delano Roosevelt in Hyde Park, NY was designed to reflect President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's love of Dutch Colonial architecture and to ensure wheelchair accessibility, the simple, one-story stone building, built in 1938, provided a refuge from the pressures of the presidency;
Papscanee Island Nature Preserve, 150 acres of Hudson River waterfront in an area originally occupied and farmed by the Mohican (Mahikan) Indians until Dutch settlers bought and inhabited it in the mid-seventeenth century.