When the Town of Greenburgh received its official recognition from the state on March 7, 1788, business continued as usual on a day when more than 100 towns across New York were incorporated, including 21 in Westchester County.
The move was widely perceived as a technicality, so inconsequential that records show there wasn’t a parade or special election in Greenburgh’s rural community of about 1,400 people.
According to historians, the wave of incorporation was championed by former Gov. George Clinton, who didn’t like how the U.S. Constitution was written and decided to establish new election districts in order to oppose it. He wanted as many anti-Federalists elected to the state’s ratification convention as possible — a political strategy that nearly paid off.
Nearly 225 years later, Greenburgh officials are planning a series of events, including some highly unusual tributes, to commemorate the town’s historic anniversary next month.
Back in the 18th century, stray farm animals posed a major concern for local farmers, imploring the town clerk to maintain a comprehensive list of livestock being held at the local pound. Town Clerk Judith Beville wants to honor this antiquated tradition by holding a short reenactment of a historic Town Board meeting, featuring a goat from the Greenburgh Nature Center.
Residents are invited to Town Hall on March 7 to participate in the event, which will kick-off an extended celebration running through this summer. A reception is scheduled for 6:30 p.m., featuring the unveiling of a wall dedicated to past town supervisors, and will be followed by a special program an hour later.
The festivities are part of a regular Town Board meeting, which was moved from Wednesday to Thursday night to coincide with the anniversary. Local mayors from the town’s six villages are also invited to share stories about the beginnings of their communities.
Town officials are in the process of planning additional events and activities that will take place around the week of July 13, and culminate with the annual Greenburgh Day on July 20 at Anthony F. Veteran Park.
Former Town Councilwoman Lois Bronz is looking forward to the celebration, and fondly remembers when she helped organize Greenburgh’s bicentennial in 1988 with help from former Town Clerk Susan Tolchin.
“It’s incredibly important to know our history and understand how this town has diversified over the years,” said Bronz, who has lived in town for more than half a century.
Photo: Gov. George Clinton (Courtesy of U.S. Congress).