Baron Von Steuben Memorial Park
Starr Hill Road at Steuben Memorial Drive
I recently received an email from Lyle in L.A., informing me about a site I hadn’t heard of – the Baron Von Steuben Memorial Park in Remsen, N.Y., Oneida County. Here’s what Lyle has to say about the site:
…there is a monument, a log cabin with historical memorabilia, and huge park grounds. (The information that I always heard is that while they were building a road on Starr Hill around there, … his body was discovered, and subsequently the park came into being.) I first knew that Baron Von Steuben was gay from reading Randy Shilts’ book Conduct Unbecoming.
And here’s a bit more about the Baron: He was nicknamed “Drillmaster of the American Revolution.” (Hmm – no comment.) After the war and in recognition of his valuable services to the new country, Congress granted Von Steuben a large plot of land in upstate New York, where he spent summers in a two-room log cabin until his death. The cabin Lyle mentions in his email is a replica of Von Steuben’s original. The monument (see photo) that Lyle notes marks the Baron’s final resting place.
Finally, I think Lyle sums up the need for queer historic sites in one sentence:
To think that this park, which I frequented for twenty years while [I was] growing up in Remsen, was in honor of a gay man is truly fascinating, and I wonder if I had known that while growing up it would have made my life a bit easier.