Story by Ben Tate
The Town of Warwick Historical Society celebrated the 235th anniversary of George Washington’s historical visit to Warwick on Sun., Jul. 23. Washington visited Warwick with his troops, while his wife, Martha, stayed at Baird’s Tavern, located at the cross section of Main St. and Colonial Ave.
With the Friends of Hathorn House dressed in period costumes, Warwick residents were invited to Lewis Park to hear the towne crier announce the order of the day, proclaiming Washington’s passage through Warwick in 1872. He was returning from Philadelphia, PA after a meeting with French ally, Comte de Rochambeau.
He also visited with General John Hathorn, who was a patriotic leader of Orange County, and who later became Orange County’s first Congressman. This proclamation, written by Dr. Richard Hull, the Town of Warwick Historian, was given to visitors as a keepsake. The event officially began with the singing of “The Star Spangled Banner” by Warwick resident Carmine Garritano.
The event, sponsored by the Historical Society, included a variety of 18th-century activities to choose from, such as painting fans, spinning wool, viewing rifle and musket drills, and storytelling. New activities this year included a silver dollar toss, a pie eating contest, a cherry pit spitting contest, and a scavenger hunt. All were invited to tour Baird’s Tavern and the Old School Baptist Meeting House. Gift certificates for ice cream cones at Bellvale Creamery were also given to children 12 and under.
The appearance of George and Martha Washington, who eagerly shared stories of early American history, was a distinctive hallmark of the day. They arrived not on a white horse but in a white Mustang driven by Lisa-Ann Weisbrod that Leo Kaytes loaned for the afternoon festivities.
“This event is here to celebrate Washington’s visit in a modern-day way,” said Mary Ann Knight, educational chair of the Historical Society.
The Historical Society hopes that this event and others like it will help the community to remember the importance of our town’s rich history. The Society sponsors Red Umbrella walking tours of Warwick every Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The next Lewis Park event will be the Party in the Park on Sat., Aug. 26 from 6 to 9 p.m. For more information on these events visit www.whsny.org or call 986-3236.