Open for 63 years, closed for 68. The Tower of Victory is open once again thanks to the efforts of the Palisades Park Conservancy to raise 1.8 million dollars through private philanthropy and public grants. The tower is not open to the public yet but will reopen very soon. Article by Johanna Yaun, Orange County Historian.
In 1883, Newburgh was the site of a weeklong gala celebration to commemorate centennial of the end of the Revolutionary War. Over a hundred thousand people descended on the city from around the world to take part in festivities that included parades, military demonstrations, and patriotic speeches. Abraham Lincoln’s son, Secretary of War Robert Todd Lincoln, announced plans to erect a monument at Newburgh to commemorate “the events which took place there a century ago.” Four years later, this monument would be unveiled as the Tower of Victory.
When planning began for the centennial monument, it was originally envisioned as a statue of Washington that would “awaken increased interest and regard for the picturesque stone house now consecrated by so many memories of the past.” By 1886, plans had expanded to enclose the statue in a stone tower that would “typify the rugged simplicity of the times and personages.” Architects Maurice J. Power and John H. Duncan, who would later become known for their work on the 1892 Columbian Exposition in Chicago, Grant’s Tomb in Manhattan, and Prospect Park in Brooklyn, were commissioned to design the tower. By the end of 1887, the monument was complete and the idea for a simple statue had grown into an imposing structure that visitors could climb for a view of the vistas of the Hudson River at Newburgh Bay.
In 1950 a severe storm damaged the roof of the Tower of Victory and it was removed to prevent further damage to the base. For 68 years it was closed to the public.