"Sharp, quirky, and occasionally nettlesome", Walking the Berkshires is my personal blog, an eclectic weaving of human narrative, natural history, and other personal passions with the Berkshire and Litchfield Hills as both its backdrop and point of departure. I am interested in how land and people, past and present manifest in the broader landscape and social fabric of our communities. The opinions I express here are mine alone. Never had ads, never will.
"It’s a double shot of straight sentimental corn syrup, and it’s the closest Dylan has come to crooning since Nashville Skyline,
his lovely 1969 country ode to domesticity. The years and cigarettes
have had their way with the man’s larynx, and he can’t match the warm
honeycomb baritone that surprised and confused his fans three decades
ago—frankly, he often comes off as a lunatic warbling carols with
almost terrifying conviction—but nevertheless, his damaged voice is
full of warmth and sweetness. “Although it’s been said many times, many
ways… Merry Christmas to you,” he sings, and he sounds like he means it
more than Mel Torme ever did. For all the world, the record doesn’t
feel like a charity album or a goofball lark or an odd experiment—it
just sounds like the work of a dude who really, really loves Christmas."
Crap. Now I'm the Grinch 'cause I say it's not just the weather outside that's frightful. And I tend to go for screwball novelty recordings, as a rule.
It's not hard to presuppose that Dylan-- who has an entire
encyclopedia, dozens of nonfiction treatises, and at least a handful of
college courses dedicated to parsing his lyrics and intent-- is either
deeply irritated or deeply bemused by his anointment, and is responding
to over-the-top canonization by doing deliberately oddball stuff (see
also: leering at underwear models in a Victoria's Secret commercial).
Even the title-- eerily reminiscent of Kenny Rogers' 1998 turd, Christmas From the Heart--
feels tongue-in-cheek. But maybe that's a trap, too-- maybe, like
zillions of red-blooded, religiously ambiguous American dudes, Bob
Dylan just likes Christmastime and Adriana Lima. And we're stupid for
presuming anything more.
Again with "We are not worthy?" This is embarrassing. Jolly Old St. Bob left his sooty footprints all over the carpet and the critics are in denial.
Why not call it like it is; the man is getting more attention for this "charity offering" than any of his largely irrelevant recordings of the past decade. And I'm not buying it.
It must have been a relief to General Howe when Washington's army occupied the oddly undefended Dorchester Heights, threatening the city of Boston and the shipping in the harbor with the guns from Ticonderoga. British records show that Howe and his superiors had been advocating for the evacuation of Boston for many months in favor of more significant campaign operations elsewhere: well before Knox's "noble train of artillery" showed up on his doorstep, in fact. It was not their intent to remain in Boston for the next season, as his correspondence with policy makers in London the previous Autumn clearly demonstrates. In fact, had Lord Dartmouth's September 5th, 1775 orders to General Howe not been delayed in crossing the Atlantic, the British might well have gone into winter quarters in Halifax and been long gone from Boston, obviating the need to send Knox to Ticonderoga to dislodge them.
Needless to say, this is not the version of events that Americans remember. We can thank the likes of Sam Adams and a long line of patriotic propagandists and historians for that. The significance of Knox's achievement in bringing the ordinance overland is unquestioningly credited both by his contemporaries and by subsequent writers as the determining factor in forcing the British to abandon Boston. To the degree that negotiations for withdrawal followed swiftly on the heels of the fortification of Dorchester Heights, this conclusion is, at first blush, quite reasonable. General Howe's own account of his decision, written to his superior Lord Dartmouth (who himself had been superseded by Lord Germain in the meantime), appears to lend support to the guns of Dorchester as a causal factor compelling him either to expose the army to the greatest distress or withdraw from Boston. One wonders, however, whether the General did not find in the guns a convenient means for justifying a move he long had contemplated.
Aside from the nightmarish logistical challenges of evacuating the city and its loyal inhabitants, Howe was heavily constrained by the length of time it took to communicate with his superiors, and above all by personal and political considerations. One could not abandoned the city with honor, no matter how prudent or compelling were other military concerns, without having endured (and preferably tried to counter) a proper siege. Until Knox arrived with the cannon, the British may have been on short rations in their winter quarters but they were hardly threatened with reduction, nor unable to leave the harbor so long as there were ships available. The occupation and fortification of Dorchester Heights was a bold stroke, but it also was the key to unlocking the British from a cage of their own making.
Howe did what was expected of him to counter this new threat. He ordered his artillery to fire on the American position, but apparently the guns were unable to elevate sufficiently to hit the heights. One does wonder whether there really were no mortars in the British arsenal capable of doing the job, or whether the attempt was just for form's sake. They evidently spiked and abandoned at least one 13" mortar that had been part of a bomb battery opposing Lechmere. Maybe it was too much to ask to shift that gun to the other side of town, but the idea that the guns wouldn't elevate is clearly a poor excuse.
"Lord Percy, according to engineer Archibald Robinson, advised strongly against persisting with an attackthat was likely to be expensive in casualties and could at best only result in controlling a position they were about to abandon.
'Those have been my own sentiments from the first,' said Howe with a sigh, 'but I thought the honour of the troops was concerned.'
It seemed a pretty poor reason for a possible replay of Bunker Hill, and so it evidently appeared to the men sitting at that conference table. For the next morning the evacuation was ordered."
Pearson concludes that "Howe's heart was not in it." This most enigmatic of British commanders during the American War of Independence has been the source of much speculation and second-guessing, and is greatly in need of a clear eyed biography. I am not suggesting that Howe deliberately left the back door open to Boston, offering up his post to the rebels with the sort of perfidy that Arnold intended in betraying West Point. But the honor of their commander was as much in play as the "honour of the troops." Until the conditions for an honorable withdrawal were met, Howe tarried, filling his correspondence with complaints that the season was too advanced, or there were not enough ships to evacuate Boston as his superiors intended and he himself wished.
In this regard, Knox's accomplishment and the overnight fortification of Dorchester Heights are both worthy of American praise and of British relief, for without them, Howe would have waited until the massive reinforcements then being assembled across the Atlantic required his assistance in taking New York - as indeed they did during the coming campaign. In saving face, General Howe gave a boost to patriot arms that they were not to enjoy again until he had swept them from New York and across the Delaware and the Hessians settled into their briefly occupied winter quarters at Trenton.
Henry Knox is best remembered as the man who dragged a "noble train of artillery" through the frozen wilderness from Fort Ticonderoga to Boston, compelling the British to evacuate the City. It is one of the great epic stories of our nation's founding, ranking for sheer audacity alongside the capture of the Hessian garrison at Trenton (in which Knox and his cannons played a significant part) and Benedict Arnold's expedition through the wilds of Maine to assault Quebec.
There is no question that coordinating the successful transport of all that heavy ordinance in the dead of winter was quite an accomplishment, and is testimony to Knox's considerable organizational skills and unflagging spirit. Nevertheless, whatever evidence exists in the historic record does not always accord with the way the story has come down to us, and indeed I have come to question some of our long standing assumptions about Knox's expedition and its significance.
The idea to retrieve the cannons from Fort Ticonderoga is roundly regarded as a bold and brilliant stroke. Historians routinely credit Knox with making the suggestion to Washington, but there is contradictory evidence in Washington's own correspondence that shows he had previously dispatched an aide-de-camp with instructions to forward the much needed ordinance to Boston. That gentleman was Col. Joseph Reed, later the Governor of Pennsylvania. In a letter of November 16th, 1775, Washington writes to the New York Legislature:
Sir: It was determined at a Conference held here in the last Month,
that such Military Stores as could be spared from New York, Crown
Point, Ticonderoga &c., should be sent here for the use of the
Continental Army. As it was not clear to me, whether I was to send for
or that they were to be sent to me, I desired Mr. Reed on his way to
Philadelphia, to enquire into this matter; as I have not heard from him
on the subject, and the Season advancing fast, I have thought it
necessary to send Hen: Knox Esqr who will deliver you this. After he
forwards what he can get at your Place, he will proceed to Genl
Schuyler, on this very important business.
I request the
favor of you Sir, and the Gentlemen of your Congress, to give Mr. Knox
all the assistance in your power, by so doing you will render infinite
service to your Country and vastly oblige Sir, etc.
From this it is clear that Washington had determined the need for supplies from both New York and the captured northern forts some time before he sent Knox to follow up. What he meant by "military stores" is clear from a letter drafted the same day to Maj. General Philip Schuyler; stating: " I am in very great Want of Powder, Lead, Morters, Cannon, indeed of most Sorts of military Stores. For Want of them we really cannot carry on any spirited Operation." In fact, as yet another letter makes clear, Washington had been looking for supplies of this sort, particularly lead, from Albany as far back as that August.
The fact is, General Washington was leaving no stone unturned in his
search for military supplies, and while no one in Cambridge knew
precisely what ordinance and war material was to be had from
Ticonderoga and Crown Point, they certainly had not been forgotten
since their capture that Spring.
Joseph Reed left Cambridge October 29th, so Washington had not been waiting very long for word about the supplies he was so impatient to secure. Nonetheless, it does not appear that Col. Reed had been able to give it much attention as he was passing through New York, nor that the New York authorities were overly motivated to make the effort to give up what they had on hand. Sending Knox there for the express purpose of forwarding military stores was a sound decision and, as it turns out, an excellent choice by Washington.
Knox was still a civilian volunteer at this time - "a Gentleman of Worcester" - although he had been recommended by Washington for a Colonelcy (and his commission was waiting for him when he returned to Boston). He had impressed Washington with his well laid siege works at Roxbury, and the Boston bookseller's considerable knowledge of artillery and engineering which he had gained largely from reading books.
But was the idea to gain the cannon from Ticonderoga his as well, or should he instead be remembered for his execution of the plan rather than its instigation?
The answer to that may lie in Washington's allusion in his letter to the New York Legislature to a "Conference held here last month". Washington did indeed hold a conference with his general officers on October 8th, at which time he put a number of questions to them regarding the organization and supply of the Continental Army. Henry Knox, as a civilian volunteer, would not have been obligated to attend, nor is it clear that he would have been at liberty to do so. A subsequent commission which met in Cambridge from Oct 18th-22nd
included members of Congress and notables from several states, but not
Knox. A unanimous decision of the Generals at the October 8th conference, however, was to replace the current commander of the Artillery, and on November 8th Washington would "recommend Henry Knox, Esqr, to the consideration of Congress" for that position. Whether or not Knox ventured the idea unofficially is interesting to speculate, but Washington's correspondence makes no mention of it and it may well be an assumption of his later biographers who took it on faith that the volunteer Mr. Henry Knox "volunteered".
Washington's orders to Knox on November 16th make it clear that his great contribution to this effort would be to do for the authorities in New York what they were unable to do for themselves in forwarding ordinance, and scarce war supplies such as gun flints, to Cambridge:
INSTRUCTIONS TO HENRY KNOX Head Quarters, Cambridge,
November 16, 1775.
You are immediately to examine into the State of the Artillery of this
Army, and take an account of the Cannon, Motors, Shells, Lead and
Ammunition, that are wanting. When you have done that, you are to
proceed in the most expeditious Manner to New York; there apply to the
President of the provisional Congress, and learn of him whether Colonel
Reed did any Thing, or left any Orders respecting these Articles, and
get him to procure such of them as can possibly be had there. The
President, if he can, will have them immediately sent hither: If he
cannot you must put them in a proper Channel for being transported to
this Camp with Dispatch, before you leave New York. After you have
procured as many of these Necessaries as you can there, you must go to
Major General Schuyler, and get the Remainder from Ticonderoga, Crown
Point, or St John's. If it should be necessary, from Quebec; if in our
Hands. The Want of them is so great, that no Trouble or Expence must be
spared to obtain them. I have wrote to General Schuyler, he will give
every necessary assistance that they may be had and forwarded to this
Place, with the utmost Dispatch. I have given you a Warrant to the
Pay-Master General of the Continental Army, for a Thousand Dollars to
defray the Expence attending your Journey, and procuring these Articles; an Account of which you are to keep and render upon your Return. Endeavour to procure what Flints you can.
There can be no doubt that Henry Knox possessed "an enterprising and fertile mind", as one biographer puts it who had access to the vast bulk of Knox's surviving papers. I have yet to find first hand evidence, however, that he deserves the credit for conceiving as well as successfully executing the task of retrieving the guns, and regrettably that same biographer offers no citation for the assertion that he did.
So, as is often the case with historical inquiry, I do not know for certain whether Henry Knox had this bold and brilliant idea, but I have reason to be skeptical. Although I lack many of the resources of those professional historians and biographers whose work precedes my impertinent question, the ability to tap online databases such as Washington's papers and even Google Books opens new lines of inquiry. And this is not the only question I have about the Knox Expedition and its place in history. I'll lob another little mortar shell in a subsequent post.
Last week's Lakeville Journal carried my Nature Notes column on our National Bird, readable here with free registration . Fair use excerpt:
eagles, wild turkeys, beaver, bear and moose, once driven from
Connecticut, have made promising and even dramatic returns. Today we
live alongside each other — not always easily — but whether encountered
in midstream or in our very backyards, these species are evidence of
extraordinary resilience and adaptation. Not every plant
or animal is able to make such adjustments, and habitat destruction
remains the single greatest cause of biodiversity loss worldwide.
Still, the landscape of northwest Connecticut retains a wild and scenic
character, where coyotes howl and eagles soar despite centuries of
It is not difficult to imagine a time when even western mountain lions
will venture a furtive paw in the Litchfield Hills as they gradually
track eastward. Whether we would accommodate the presence of a top
predator of their caliber in our neighborhood is an open question, but
it is certainly something to ponder. And it certainly makes my heart
glad to see eagles here.
Lightning struck twice for me in October, as Facebook's personal marketing profile proved to be well calibrated to my interests, at least where local events are concerned. Facebook's sidebar suggestion that I experience the new Walkway Over the Hudson sent me and my children on a grand adventure a week ago. Then last Friday it picked up on my Revolutionary War interest and clued me in to a pair of terrific events in Torrington, not to mention a whole local history initiative in Western CT about which I had previously been unaware. Score one for social media: it is still a long way from a decent batting average, but a nice example of what is possible.
Locally Grown History is aspparently in its second year, and an effort to showcase the extraordinary opportunities in our region to experience its history and cultural heritage and integrate these resources with what our children learn in schools, as well as what the public in general knows about our past. Sponsored by the University of Connecticut in collaboration numerous groups and agencies, including the Upper Housatonic Valley National Heritage Corridor, it is a wonderful local resource. It seems to be doing for our heritage of regional history the same sort of thing that the Litchfield Hills Greenprint Collaborative that I direct is striving to achieve for regional conservation by aggregating the resources and talents of local conservation groups in the service of important land protection efforts. I would commend any effort out of hand that tackled this objective for our history, but in addition to that the organizers of last weeks events produced a high quality forum on the Revolutionary History of Connecticut that was most welcome and very well received.
It began on Friday evening at UNCONN's Torrington campus (immediately after a Civil War Sesquicentennial event at the site of John Brown's birthplace) with a screening of Mary Silliman's War. The movie was presented by historian Richard Buel, who produced the film and was the co-author of the book The Way of Duty on which it is based. The opportunity to see this film was very timely for me, as that very day I noted that J.L. Bell at Boston 1775 discussed the paucity of historically accurate, watchable films about the American Revolution. I can now confidently add Mary Silliman's War to that impoverished list.
This movie was not a big budget Hollywood film - and regrettably it will set you back $75 to purchase a DVD from the distributor - but they did wonders with the resources they had. The acting, particularly by Nancy Palk in the title role, is quite compelling. From an historiographical perspective it belongs in the a progressive tradition, viewing the war as a socially disruptive civil conflict on a human scale, more in keeping with My Brother Sam is Dead than Johnny Tremain. Professor Buel shared his thoughts on the compromises that are made translating a book to film and conveying complex events and ideas in visually compelling ways. In one interesting aside, he mentioned that the officer leading the reenactors who represented the royalist forces who burned Fairfield objected to one scene of sexual violence saying; "The British did not rape", demonstrating a blind spot that is not borne out by any serious study of the subject and the historic record. I've been reading Sharon Block's Rape & Sexual Power in Early America, so I feel fairly current in this regard.
I found it particularly well done regarding the values, attitudes and expectations (changing and immutable) that the characters had of themselves and for each other. The film displays the Silliman household, with its children, servants and slaves, in a way that does not trivialize or over exploit power relationship and the effects on the family of the loss of the patriarch. As an aside, my ancestor Ebenezer Olmsted of Ridgefield, CT fought in Silliman's regiment From June-December, 1776, and both of them were present at the Battle of Ridgefield during Tryon's Danbury Raid the following year.
It was a terrific set up for Sunday afternoon's Revolutionary War forum. The keynote address was by Professor Robert Gross, author of The Minutemen and their World. He spoke of his experience of the marvelous diorama at Minuteman National Park of the fight at Concord Bridge that prompted his book. As he gazed at the little figures, frozen under glass, he was struck at how this depiction of a highly symbolic moment in time placed both the event itself and the people of Concord out of context. His subsequent research revealed that militant patriotism only took hold in Concord in 1774 with the revocation of the colonial charter, and it was this event, rather than taxes and tea, that threatened the local institutions that were already fraying in Concord.
There were a number of workshops offered following this address. I participated in two:
Revolutionary Archaeology in Connecticut: Dr. Nicolas Bellantoni, Connecticut State Archaeologist
Children and the Revolution through Literature: Prof. Christopher
Collier, University of Connecticut, former Connecticut State Historian
and co-author of the Newberry award-winning My Brother Sam is Dead and other historical novels for young adults.
Each presenter had a unique style - Bellantoni's clear enthusiasm for his subject and Collier's thoughtful pedagogical engagement with each of the participants - and I learned new things from each. I will be sure to follow the Rochambeau Trail through Connecticut and revisit Collier's novels at my earliest opportunity. As I myself am writing a novel based in the Revolutionary era - albeit a counterfactual one - I was keenly interested in Collier's thoughts on how to stay true to the values and attitudes of his characters and their time while making them empathetic and approachable to modern readers. He very kindly provided us with a number of free copies of the teaching aid he wrote for his historical novels for young adults entitled My Brother Sam and All That and there is much there about writing historical fiction as well as using it in the classroom that I am enjoying thinking about.
The last session was a round table of the topic of Religion and the Republic: Approaching a Central Theme in Connecticut History. In keeping with the spirit of Locally Grown History, this was a collaborative effort, expertly woven together by Professor Andrew Walsh of Trinity College. I have come to believe that the first Great Awakening, as much as any other causal factor of the Revolution, played a pervasive and dominant role in determining loyalties within communities and the direction of social, and therefore political life. In an increasingly secular society, where we are either too partisan, polite, or politically constrained to thoughtfully discuss the history of religion in America and its influence on the growth and development of our Republic. This is an area of study to which I need to give more thought.
I felt the afternoon, despite the dreary wintry mix outside, was a grand success, and look forward to becoming moire involved in future Locally Grown History events. This collaboration is a true regional asset.
"Hillary and Seuss" : The madcap antics of the Cat in the Hat at the US State Department. Staring Jim Cary and Amy Poehler.
"Biden His Time": It's a gaff-a-minute as week after week, the Veep puts his foot in the proverbial "bucket of warm piss" and proves that while he may not be secure, he's fully disclosed.
"The Cure for What Ales You"; Nobel Peace Prize laureate Barack Obama practices his trademark "beer diplomacy" to solve conflicts around the globe and in your neighborhood. This week's summit features Mahmoud Abbas, Benjamin Netanyahu, and a six pack of Oktoberfest.
"Rush to Judgment" Critics are giving standing bloviations to this Night Court remake with right wing talk show host Rush Limbaugh starring as eccentric, fun-loving judge Harry T. Stone (and the rest of the cast).
"Green Eclairs" Al Gabore moves to a LEED certified mansion in the country to promote sustainable living and save the planet.
"Van Palin" Refusing to be a lame duck, the maverick Governor of Alaska trades in her tailored suits for spandex and hits the road with Ted Nugent. But just who is fronting for whom? Check your guns and roses at the door for this one.
"Appy Trails to You" Hosted by the man who gave new meaning to the phrase "hiking the Appalachian trail", Governor Mark Sandford takes us to more places he didn't go when he was actually with his mistress in Buenos Aires. Next week: Wall, South Dakota! A Mockumentary produced for PBS by Ken Burns.
If you have occasion to travel through the Town of Stanford, NY on County Route 82, as I did yesterday, you might notice that in company with many northern towns and villages, it has its own Civil War memorial. The monument does not dominate the Town square, nor preside over the community from atop a noble granite column. In fact, is is unique for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is that despite the verdigris of its oxidized bronze, the memorial is not of great antiquity but a far more recent creation. It certainly was not there when I grew up within the township.
In 1996, in fact, the Stanford Historical Society erected a statue commissioned from local artist Peter Wing to commemorate all of the Town's Civil War soldiers. The sculpture is quite unusual in that it depicts an actual person rather than a homogeneous representative soldier as was the practice with such monuments erected in the decades after the war. The bronze statue depicts one native son in particular: Maj. Cornelius Nase Campell, one-time Town Moderator of Stanford and then 1st Surgeon in the 150th N.Y.S. Volunteer Infantry ("The Dutchess County Regiment").
This three year's regiment saw service in both theaters of the war, fighting with the 12th Corps at Gettysburg and then with the Army of the Cumberland in the redesignated 20th corps. The sculpture of Maj. Campell wears the distinctive 5 pointed star of the 20th corps as a cap badge. The 150th fought in the Atlanta campaign and marched as part of Sherman's Army through Georgia and the Carolina's, participating in the Grand Review in Washington before heading home in June of 1865, having lost 132 to deaths during its three years in service.
Peter Wing - himself a Viet Nam veteran - was able to consult this wartime image of Maj. Campell from the collection of the U.S. Army Military History Institute when sculpting his likeness. His name is often recorded as "Campbell", with the notable exception of the dedication plaque on the Standford monument.
Maj. Campell is an intriguing choice for the subject of a late 20th century Civil War Memorial. I would be very curious to know what was the impetus for the modern day residents of the Town of Stanford, only a small proportion of whom are likely to be descended from those veterans they chose to commemorate, to commission and erect this monument generally to those who served and specifically to Maj. Campell. It may have been a happy chance that there was local talent available to create the bronze statue, for most 20th century memorials tend to emphasize names on plaques rather than images of soldiers. In that sense, this memorial is a deliberate look back at an earlier aesthetic, yet it reflects the sensibilities of our era by depicting an actual person to stand for the whole.
In fact, most modern Civil War memorials are commissioned not for hometowns but for battlefields - those that will still accept them. The motivations for erecting them may be genealogical, as with two monuments I observed at Perryville Kentucky paid for by the descendant of a particular confederate NCO who died on the field, or cultural, such as the relatively recent monument to the Irish Brigade at the Bloody Lane in Antietam. When such monuments appear in our time, when no one's living memory encompasses the individuals and events they commemorate, it is worth considering what motivated these remembrances even as we acknowledge those they seek to honor.
The Stanford memorial was dedicated even before the sculpture was created. Freedom Square Park lies below the public school on the other side of a rail fence near Rte 82, and this memorial is its principal monument. The quotation on the plaque at the base of the pedestal is from another native son of Stanford - Talmadge Wood, who died of wounds received at Gettysburg. Clearly the Historical Society had access to material like this that enabled the Town to personalize its memorial and make direct links between our time and second hand memory of the past.
I grew up in an isolated corner of the Town of Stanford, although I was in both a different school district and a different postal district than the rest of the Township. I remember celebrating the Bicentennial in Stanford, though, right where the monument now stands and still have the souvenir wooden nickel from the festivities. I wish I had still been around in the mid 1990s when this statue was commissioned and the memorial was dedicated. Now that my curiosity has been peaked, I will have to pay a visit to the Historical Society and see what else i can learn about this role of Civil War Memory in my old hometown.
Poughkeepsie was the place to be this Columbus Day Weekend, as the newest jewel in the NY State park system - the much anticipated Walkway Over the Hudson - is now open to the public. I am quite certain that the residential streets leading up to the old railroad bridge that spans the river never experienced such traffic on a Sunday, and if it keep sup they will need additional parking to accommodate all the eager pedestrians. before.
I drove over from Connecticut with the kids as an afternoon outing, along with thousands of others in the region who had the same idea on a crisp, cloud studded Autumn afternoon. It was well worth it.
This bridge was the first of any kind to span the Hudson River south of Albany. Erected in the late 1880's, it was at that time the longest bridge in the world. The Central New England Railway crossed the span to access the Pennsylvania coal fields. It was still in use, though much reduced, when in 1974 a fire started on the Poughkeepsie side that ruined the tracks but left the structure intact. The bridge was abandoned - too expensive to take down - and there it stood, a curiosity to motorists crossing over on the nearby Mid Hudson Bridge.
The vision of a pedestrian walking bridge utilizing the piers and trusses of the Poughkeepsie Railroad Bridge had early proponents, and in 1992 a nonprofit organization was launched by dedicated but underfunded volunteers to try and move the idea forward. More recently, substantial support from private foundations, businesses and government grants made the Walkway Over the Hudson a reality and a fitting capstone to the 400th anniversary of Henry Hudson's voyage up his namesake river.