Thaddeus Kosciuszko National Memorial | PARK AT A GLANCE

Thaddeus Kosciuszko fighting the Russians in Poland

Thaddeus Kosciuszko fighting the Russians in Poland

PARK OVERVIEW

Thaddeus Kosciuszko National Memorial in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is America’s tribute to Polish soldier and military engineer Thaddeus Kosciuszko for his contributions to the Patriot cause during the American Revolution. With a disdain for the ruling class and sympathy for the oppressed, Kosciuszko traveled from Poland to fight in the Revolution after being unable to obtain an officer’s commission in the highly diminished Polish army after the First Partition of Poland. He enlisted in the Continental Army and fought under the command of General Horatio Gates. He had a talent for engineering and designed many defensive fortifications used during the war.

Kosciuszko rose to fame at the Battle of Saratoga in New York. After the Americans lost Fort Ticonderoga (located at the southern end of Lake Champlain in New York) in July 1777 without a fight, the British pursued the Americans south towards Albany. Kosciuszko was tasked with slowing the British advance and finding a point where the Americans could turn and make a stand. He felled trees, destroyed bridges and dams, and dammed waterways to flood the land along the route, causing the British to take twenty days to cover territory they normally covered in two.

When it came time to mount a defense, Kosciuszko chose Saratoga, which was on the Hudson River about 30 miles north of Albany. His fortifications were impenetrable, and the British were defeated on October 17, 1777. Many historians consider this victory to be the turning point in the war. Kosciuszko would go on to design the fortifications at West Point—it was his design plan that was stolen by Benedict Arnold and sold to the British—and participate in many southern battles with General Nathanael Greene, including the Battle of Guilford Courthouse in North Carolina (Guilford Courthouse National Military Park), the second battle at Camden, and the battle at Ninety-Six in South Carolina (Ninety-Six National Historic Site).

Thaddeus Kosciuszko National Memorial is the smallest unit of the National Park system, consisting only of the former boarding house of Ann Relf where Kosciuszko lived between November 1797 and May 1798 when he returned to the United States after leading an unsuccessful Polish rebellion against the Russians in 1794. Located in the Society Hill neighborhood of downtown Philadelphia, the house’s physical connection to Kosciuszko makes it a fitting location for the memorial. Essentially a Kosciuszko museum, visitors can browse through information panels, watch a short film about Kosciuszko, and see the room where he lived during his time in Philadelphia.


OPERATING HOURS

Thaddeus Kosciuszko National Memorial is open on weekends only from 12 PM to 4 PM, April through October. It is closed the rest of the year.

Times can always change, so before making travel plans be sure to get the latest schedule on the National Park Service’s official Operating Hours and Seasons web page for the memorial.


FEES

There is no fee to enter the Kosciuszko Memorial House.


SCHEDULING YOUR TIME

Plan to spend between 30 minutes and 1 hour at the memorial.

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Last updated on May 14, 2020
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