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No. Castle Historical Society Asks Town’s Help with 250th Anniversary Plans

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Leaders of the North Castle Historical Society have asked for a commitment from town officials to help prepare for a celebration for the nation’s 250th anniversary in 2026.

The historical society recently appealed to the Town Board to help in establishing a committee and for $40,000 in funding that would create a professional-quality video should also be produced to help local residents and students understand the area’s importance in the fight for independence, said Tom Rice, a historical society vice president and trustee. That would likely cost about $20,000 to $25,000, he said.

The money would also be used to replace or repair worn or faded historical markers throughout town as part of the commemoration.

Rice said there is a deep connection to the American Revolution in the area, with military operations having taken place in and around North Castle during the Battle of White Plains on Oct. 28, 1776. He said a wide assortment of organizations, such as the chamber of commerce, school groups, town government and other constituencies could all play a role in assisting the town plan to mark the day.

“I think we owe it to our history, but we owe it to our people as well to have a real celebration of the semiquincentennial, and it can be a wonderful and unifying event for our town,” Rice said.

There is a blueprint for North Castle to follow since it was one of multiple communities in Westchester County that had a celebration for the nation’s bicentennial in 1976. There were services, since July 4 that year was a Sunday, a parade, speakers, a time capsule buried and fireworks after nightfall, Rice said.

Nearly 50 years ago, the town established a committee to oversee multiple subcommittees that each focused on a different aspect of the planned events, he said.

While it has become well-known that the Miller House on Virginia Road in North White Plains was George Washington’s headquarters during the Battle of White Plains in late October of 1776, there are other notable events that happened in town as well. During the battle, the British and the Continental army faced off at Chatterton Hill, which the patriots defended to track the advancing enemy, said Constance Keough, who leads Revolutionary Westchester 250, which is helping to plan events throughout the county for July 4, 2026.

The battle was considered pivotal because Washington had suffered defeat in Brooklyn before retreating north, Keough said. Three times the British and their Hessian allies attacked Chatterton Hill, forcing Washington to retreat again.

The Continental Army, which was eventually able to regroup, crossed the Hudson River at Peekskill and moved further west. Two months later the troops crossed the Delaware River and surprised the British in Trenton.

“You guys will be doing a great service pointing that out, making it clear that that was a very pivotal moment in the outcome of the war,” Keough said.

Other efforts that can be part of the celebration is to mark what is called Mount Misery in North White Plains.  About a year-and-a-half ago, the town acquired 18 Nethermont Ave. in North White Plains and added that to an adjacent parcel at 16 Nethermont Ave. to preserve about an acre with vital historic significance. The site was occupied by the patriots to easily track the movement of British troops leading up to the Battle of White Plains.

Former town justice Susan Shimer, who was one of the speakers at the town’s bicentennial celebration, said the 1976 event helped spark community pride and brought the town together for a common goal. Plans for the 250th anniversary are just as important.

“I think everyone remembered the day, a day for togetherness and a day for memory,” Shimer said. “So, I strongly advocate that you do it and I know it can be done well.”

Supervisor Joe Rende, who attended the town’s bicentennial celebration as a teenager because his father was involved in helping communities throughout the county with their plans, agreed that marking the semiquincentennial would be a great event for the town, to honor its history and role in the Revolution.

Rende said he would look soon to set up a meeting to how best to populate a committee.

“I think everyone could agree that if there was a time in history that we need reason to celebrate our signing the Declaration of Independence and the forming of this great nation, it’s now,” said Rende.

Co-Town Historian Sharon Tomback directly appealed to the Town Board for its support for the $40,000.

“If we know we have your support for the video and for the signs, then we can move forward,” Tomback said.

Correction: In the original posting of this article, it incorrectly stated that the British troops were forced to retreat following the Battle of White Plains. It was actually Washington’s army that retreated. The Examiner regrets the error.






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