Fort Crailo and the Van Rensselaers
Author: Shirley W. Dunn
As the first Dutch farms take root east of the Hudson River across from Fort Orange (Albany), a fortified farmhouse is built by the Van Rensselaers to protect their interests and provide a haven for settlers. Originally surrounded by a tall wooden palisade, Fort Crailo survived King Philip’s War, the French and Indian wars, and the Revolution. For over a century, armies camped on its grounds as they made their way to and from the battles, and it was here that a British Army surgeon penned the lyrics to “Yankee Doodle.” When peace finally came, generations of Van Rensselaers enlarged the little fort into a mansion overlooking their 1,500-acre farm that sprawled along the east bank, sowing the seeds for the future Village of Greenbush and the City of Rensselaer. Derelict and shuttered by the late 1800s, Crailo State Historic Site—today a museum of Dutch colonial life in New York—stands as a rare victory of historic preservation.
Paperback, 202 pages
Publisher: Black Dome Press