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City Celebrates President at Former Headquarters

The White Plains Historical Society held its annual shindig to celebrate George Washington’s Birthday at the Jacob Purdy House on Sunday

 

Dozens attended the 280th birthday party for George Washington on Sunday thrown annually by The White Plains Historical Society.

The celebration was held at the Jacob Purdy House, a nationally recognized historical site that served as Washington’s headquarters during the Battle of White Plains in 1776 and in 1778. 

The White Plains Historical Society was recently awarded a grant to renovate the Purdy House. Visit whiteplainshistory.org to learn more about your history, and how to support your local historical society.

According to The Journal News, this year’s event aimed to humanize Washington as the “quintessential American.”

Celebrate President’s Day with a lesson on the country’s first president. The White House and the “Meet George Washington” websites tell us the following about the life Washington led:

  • He was born in 1732 to a Virginia planter family where he learned morals, manners, and knowledge of an 18th century Virginia gentleman.
  • Washington was born in 1732 to a Virginia planter family. By the age of 16 he was surveying the Shenandoah lands for Thomas, Lord Fairfax and pursed military arts and western expansion. By 1754, he fought in skirmishes that eventually turned into the French and Indian War
  • Washington was managing his land in Mount Vernon where he was living a busy and happy life with his wife Martha Dandridge Custis, a widow, when the American Revolution broke. He and his fellow planters felt exploited by the British merchants and their regulations and began—to moderately, but firmly—voice their resistance
  • After being named Commander in Chief of the Continental Army in May 1775, Washington commanded a group of ill-trained troops who went to war taking on the strategy of “harassing the British." "We should on all Occasions avoid a general Action, or put anything to the Risque, unless compelled by a necessity, into which we ought never to be drawn," Washington reported to Congress.
  • Though Washington wanted to retire to his Mount Vernon home, he had to participate in the Constitutional Convention, since the Articles of Confederation weren’t functioning so well
  • Washington didn’t entirely accept the recommendations from his allies the pro-French Thomas Jefferson or pro-British Alexander Hamilton—but “insisted on upon a neutral course until the United States could grow stronger”
  • He took his oath of office as president on April 30, 1789 while standing on the balcony of Federal Hall on Wall Street in New York
  • He saw a divide by the end of his first term, and retired in his second urging his countrymen to “forswear excessive party spirit and geographical distinctions”
  • His Mount Vernon home was a model of “science-based agriculture” that sought to benefit farmers
  • He served as a surrogate father for many young people and volunteered at his church.
  • Washington was a slave owner for most of his life and owned more than 300 slaves. He sought to  influence others and freed his slaves in his will 

An imperfect hardworking person who fought for what he believed in to achieve great things for the benefit of his countrymen—sounds pretty American to us, Happy President's Day!

Don't forget check out the beautiful photo gallery of Washington's birthday party, courtesy Patch reader Mike Sinnot.

Did you take pictures at the event? Add them here, then email dina.sciortino@patch.com so we can feature them so everyone can see!

Peggy Diaco February 21, 2012 at 02:20 PM
Great pictures Mike! Westchester is home to many historical sites and unfortunately because of the economy and loss of funds they have had to resort to non-historical events to raise money. It is important that we don't let the artifacts and buildings of White Plains and Westchester fall prey to demolition. Recently, the Board of Historic Hudson Valley voted to end visitor tours of some of their sites. This is a shame as our children need to know and be proud of the history of their hometowns. Please support your local historical sites. There is a Native American quote that goes "a people without history is like wind on the buffalo grass." Please keep these events and sites alive. Peggy Diaco
Dina Sciortino February 21, 2012 at 03:41 PM
Thanks Peggy!

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