Beginning back in 1924 when first chartered, the Mechanicville Rotary Club took an active leadership role to save the land and work with NYS to create an historic preserve at the site of the Battles of Saratoga, . Through the leadership of men like Mechanicville Mayor George Slingerlands, also Mechanicville Rotary Club president, and Adolph Ochs, publisher of the New York Times and others recognizing the significance of preserving the lands of the crucial Battles of Saratoga, the site was made part of the National Park System in 1938 when authorized by the United States Congress.
The Club archives include letters from President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, friend of Slingerlands and Ochs, letters from other dignitaries of the time as well as the Sesquicentennial Dedication and Historical Pageant held on October 8, 1927 – there are many stories of the thousands that visited the Battlefield that day, bumper to bumper traffic on the highways and byways; cars parked all the way down Route 4 to Mechanicville; Governor Alfred E. Smith, Governors from NH, VT and CT attended as well as representatives of Great Britain, France and Poland; hundreds of re-enactors and other performers, with the Club center to all the activity.
The dedication of the George O. Slingerlands Memorial in 1938, another area-wide celebration, was a tribute, not only to Slingerlands but to all the Rotary Clubs in the area who supported the project – financially tens of thousands of dollars were raised to buy the land.
Ably assisted by the Rotary Clubs of Ballston Spa, Granville, Saratoga, Albany and other Rotary Club’s in the area, the story to save these historic lands is a gem in the history of the United States and in Rotary International as well.
For more about the Saratoga Battlefield please click here to read more.