The Saratoga National Historical Park preserves the site of one of the most important battles of the Revolutionary War. And while the main battlefield is a popular destination, few visitors make the short drive north to see and climb the Saratoga Monument and to tour the Philip Schuyler Country Estate.
These two interesting sites are located less than 10 miles north of the main battlefield in the communities of Victory and Schuylerville. It was on this land that British General John Burgoyne surrendered to American General Horatio Gates in October 1777, marking a turning point in the war.
And while those wanting to learn more about the war should first head to the main portion of the historical battlefield a few miles south, both of these sites are worth checking out while exploring the battlefield and Saratoga County, New York.
The Saratoga Monument
The Saratoga Monument commemorates the victory of the Continental Army during the Battle of Saratoga and stands very near the spot where the British surrender occurred.
After nearly 20 years of planning, the cornerstone for the monument was laid on October 17, 1877, exactly 100 years to the day after the surrender. Construction was completed in 1882, though the brass statues took another few years to be finished.
Since 1980, the statue has been a part of the Saratoga National Historical Park. Due to its deteriorating condition, it was closed to the public from 1987 through 2005, but after a major refurbishment, it was reopened to the public to tour and climb.
And, while the monument is impressive from the exterior, it is definitely worth climbing if you are able.
Getting to the top of the 155-foot-tall monument requires climbing 188 stairs. The staircase here winds its way up the granite obelisk, though the size and shape of the stairs make it an easier climb than you’d have at a lighthouse or other similar tall and narrow structures.
That being said, the staircase is rather open, so some might get a bit of vertigo if they look up or down (there are railings though, so climbing is safe).
Atop the monument, there is an excellent viewing area that provides views of the region in all four cardinal directions from the four windows in the space. The viewing platform is small, though, so it could get a bit crowded on a busy day.
As you make your way to the top, make sure to stop for a moment at the brass reliefs on the walls of the first and second floors. These showcase scenes from the battle and the surrender and are very well done.
Make sure to also take some time to see the monument from the outside as this is quite an impressive structure.
Near the base, there are three brass statues set into the structure. These are of General Horatio Gates, General Philip Schuyler, and Colonel Daniel Morgan. All three men played pivotal roles in the Battle of Saratoga.
It is said that the fourth spot was supposed to have a statue of General Benedict Arnold. It’s fairly obvious why they wouldn’t put a statue of him there, but it’s not obvious why they planned a place for him 100 years after his treason.
The Saratoga Monument can be viewed from the outside at any time of the year. However, the interior is only open on Saturdays and Sundays from 10 am to 4 pm from early summer through mid-October. Climbing the tower is free but is only recommended for those 10 and older.
The monument can be found at the following coordinates: 43.098558, -73.593261. Parking is off of Cemetery Road along Burgoyne Street.
The Philip Schuyler Country Estate
The Philip Schuyler Country Estate is located in the Village of Schuylerville only a mile from the Saratoga Monument.
This was the home of General Philip Schuyler, probably best known today as the father-in-law of Alexander Hamilton. However, Schuyler was a noteworthy man himself as a member of Congress and a general in the Continental Army. Interestingly Schuyler was a Senator from New York but lost his reelection bid to Aaron Burr (which created some of the strife that led to the famous Burr-Hamilton Duel in 1804).
The estate that stands today was built in 1777 to replace a home on the same site that was burned by the British army just prior to their surrender. This residence served primarily as a country estate for the Schuylers, who resided in Albany.
Despite its age, the Philip Schuyler House looks much as it would have in 1777 with no modern amenities like plumbing or electricity added over the years.
There are a total of six rooms that visitors can tour in the home, all of which have been set up to look much as they would have when the Schuylers lived here. There are even four original pieces owned by the family which are neat to see. Sadly, no photos are allowed of the interior.
While there aren’t many large signs in the rooms, each space has a notebook you can flip through to learn more about the history of the home and how the spaces would have been used if you are taking a self-guided tour.
There is also some really good information about the slaves that the Schuyler family kept in the home, which I feel was an important inclusion for the site.
Overall, the Philip Schuyler Country Estate probably isn’t worth a long trip out of your way to see. However, if you are in the area, it’s definitely worth a quick stop.
The Philip Schuyler Country Estate is open Friday through Sunday from Memorial Day Weekend through mid-October. Guided tours are offered in the morning with self-guided tours being offered in the afternoon (Open 10 am – 4 pm on operating days). Visits to the home are free.
The estate can be found at the following address: 4 Broad St, Schuylerville, NY 12871.
[Click here for information on how to use the coordinates in this article to find your destination.]