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White Plains Celebrates Washington's Birthday

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. – George Washington’s 280th birthday was celebrated Sunday with a commemoration event by the White Plains Historical Society at its headquarters in the Jacob Purdy House on Park Avenue.

Re-enactors raised the American flag and “General Washington” spoke about his legacy in front of an enthusiastic crowd that included White Plains Mayor Thomas Roach.

Roach implored the city to save old buildings like the Purdy House, which was built in 1721. “Many older buildings have been lost over the years but the city has great history, there’s history all around us,” he said.

Robert Hoch, president of the White Plains Historical Society, said the organization has received a $35,000 federal grant to renovate the Purdy House roof.

Hoch hosted the birthday celebration, noting, “Presidents Day has mythologized Washington but he was actually here and this event helps us humanize him.”

Washington stayed at the Purdy House twice, in 1776 when he was fighting the Battle of White Plains, and in 1778 when the Continental Army was encamped in White Plains.

Michael Grillo, the re-enactor who played Washington Sunday and has taken on the part since 1999, said Washington’s troops lost the Battle of White Plains. “It was a difficult battle against well-seasoned troops, but the men fought bravely,” he said.

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