Constitution Island

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Constitution Island
Constitution Island, NY viewed from the west Jan 09.JPG
Constitution Island, NY as seen looking east from Merritt Road, on West Point
Constitution Island is located in New York
Constitution Island
Location within New York
Nearest city Cold Spring, New York
Coordinates 41°24′20″N 73°57′15″W / 41.40556°N 73.95417°W / 41.40556; -73.95417Coordinates: 41°24′20″N 73°57′15″W / 41.40556°N 73.95417°W / 41.40556; -73.95417
Historical marker across the river at West Point

Constitution Island is located in the Hudson River, just south of Cold Spring (Putnam County) New York. The island was given to the United States of America in 1909, and since then has been administered by the United States Military Academy.

Known as Martelaer's Rock in colonial times, it was renamed Constitution Island in 1775. Continental forces fortified the island with artillery batteries and redoubts during the War of American Independence. The island is perhaps best known as the eastern anchor-point for the Great Chain, a massive iron structure that stretched across the narrow bend in the Hudson between the island and the mainland at West Point. The chain was intended to prevent British naval vessels from navigating freely along the Hudson. It remained in place (except during months when ice blocked the river) from 1778 to 1782. After the war, Constitution Island returned to civilian use.

The Warner House is a National Historic Landmark located on Constitution Island, administered by the United States Military Academy. The Warner family owned the island and lived in the house from 1838 to 1915. Sisters Susan Bogert Warner and Anna Bartlett Warner were popular, prolific novelists whose works sold millions of copies in the United States, England and elsewhere. The Warner sisters are recognized as among the most significant American women writers of the nineteenth century.

The Warner House and surrounding gardens are normally open to the public during the operational season. The Constitution Island Association, a not-for-profit organization, traditionally provided historic and cultural tours for visitors to the island and maintained the extensive gardens surrounding the Warner House. The Warner House is currently closed to visitors because the structure has become unstable, although the garden and grounds are open for visiting. The Military Academy has made improvements to the site including upgrades to the roadways, drainage, support facilities and trails. The West Point Association of Graduates has begun a capital campaign to raise funds to restore the historic structure and allow visitors inside the historic structure. Donations to this endeavor may be directed to: http://www.westpointaog.org/

For further West Point History visit: http://www.usma.edu/museum.

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