Fort Lee, New Jersey A Cooperative Housing Community

 Mention Fort Lee, New Jersey and two things come to mind. One is its proximity  to the George Washington Bridge, and secondly, its heritage as the birthplace  of the modern film industry and of the Palisades amusement park.  

 The borough of Fort Lee is located in Bergen County in northeastern New Jersey.  Nestled between Leonia and Palisades Park, you’ll find yourself on the banks of the Hudson River, one bridge (the George  Washington, to be exact) away from New York City—and home to Fort Lee.  

 Fort Lee History 101

 According to the borough’s website, the first people known to have settled in the Fort Lee area were the  Lenni Lenape Indians. The first recorded reference to the area atop the  Palisades which is now Fort Lee was by Captain Henry Hudson in 1609. In 1664,  the British gained control of the Dutch lands in New Jersey and New York.  Nearly a century later in 1756, Stephen Bourdette purchased 400 acres of wooded  land north of present-day Edgewater; meaning that present-day Fort Lee was  actually part of his property. The stone house he built was the only one for  nearly a mile around and this same edifice later became General George  Washington’s headquarters during the American Revolution.  

 Fort Lee’s role in the Revolutionary War is noteworthy as it was a crucial strategic  location during the 1776 British campaign to control New York City and the  Hudson River. After the siege of Boston, Washington fortified his defenses in  New York and the Hudson Valley. The British plan was to control the length of  the Hudson with the dominance of its Royal Navy. The plan, if successful, would  have split the colonies in half and hopefully bring an early end to the war. In  July of 1776, work was begun on a fort that would eventually be named for  General Charles Lee, who assisted in the defense of New York City. On the  opposite New York shoreline, Fort Washington was built.  

 Following the fall of New York to the British occupation, the Continental Army  crossed the Hudson River and scaled the Palisades to man the fortifications on  the bluffs of Fort Lee. Washington designated the area of what is now Monument  Park and the Fort Lee Museum as an encampment for his troops, the borough’s website noted. Huts were constructed around Parker’s Pond and ovens carved of stone. However, with the war in New York going badly,  Washington soon abandoned the fort and made preparations to evacuate his  remaining army through New Jersey.  


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