Standing on the porch of the Cornerstone Victorian B&B at 6 p.m. Tuesday Feb. 12 , more than a dozen Warrensburg residents cheered the very beginning of their town’s third century in existence. Among them were (center front): Warrensburg Historian Sandi Parisi and (center right): Warrensburgh Museum Director Steve Parisi.
As their cell phone displays changed from 5:59 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday Feb 12, nearly two dozen local citizens let out a collective cheer, hailing the arrival of Warrensburg’s bicentennial.
Gathered on the porch of the Cornerstone Victorian Bed & Breakfast at the urging of town historian Sandi Parisi, the group of history buffs rang bells and whirled various noisemakers in their ceremony to mark the 200th year — to the very day — since the town of Warrensburg was founded.
On Feb. 12, 1813, local leaders met in the Warren House, a local tavern and hotel, and they signed documents to form the town, according to accounts of the town’s history.
In the distance on Tuesday evening, the bells of various local churches rang out. In the First Presbyterian Church several blocks away, Tom Birdsall stood in the darkness of the church’s belfry, pulling on a thick rope to sound a bell believed to be nearly as old as the town.
At the urging of local Chamber of Commerce official Lynn Smith, the group at Cornerstone Victorian broke into a chorus of “Happy Birthday — Warrensburg.”
It’s thrilling that so many people came here to ring in the next 100 years,” Parisi said after the group’s song subsided.
Bob and Peggy Knowles shook a decorative cowbell from Switzerland for the celebration. Mike Sullivan pressed a button on his smartphone that played faux chimes.
Liz Sebald and others, however, took a break to reminisce. Sebald has lived in Warrensburg since her birth in 1939. She recalled how much of the ambiance of olden days has been retained. One major difference is the “new” subdivision built decades ago northeast of the historic Ashe’s Hotel off Hudson St., built where the Warren County Fairgrounds once stood.
“I remember as a child, how I used to sneak under the fence for the horse races there,” Sebald said. ”Warrensburg was a great town to grow up in — It was lots of fun.”
Ruth Fruda, born at home in a house on Third Avenue, added her thoughts.
“The town is now better than I remember from my youth,” she said. “These are exciting times for Warrensburg with the revitalization occurring and all the other things happening.”
Pride in Warrensburg again takes center stage as the town’s bicentennial is recognized at 7 p.m.Wednesday Feb. 13 in the Warrensburg Town Hall. This observance of the town’s bicentennial is to occur at the beginning of the monthly town meeting.
Then on Friday Feb. 15, Warrensburg will again be honored for its 200th anniversary at the Warren County Board of Supervisors monthly meeting, 10 a.m. in the county Municipal Center, off I-87 Exit 20. Warren County’s Bicentennial is being celebrated this year, too. See: www.warrensburghistorian.org or: www.warrenny200.org.