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Proposed Stewart's store involves historic Cunningham plot

From the end of the ice age to our present day, Warrensburgh has seen endless changes, and today, amid controversy, we might see the town altered yet again. The debate centers around weather a bustling Stewart's convenience store with gas pumps should be relocated into the historic residential heart of the village. It is for every citizen to have their own opinion about this 1.2 acre lot across Stewart Farrar Ave. from the historic old Presbyterian Church. There have been several meetings recently among citizens who fear for their beloved town's ambiance.

To give us perspective on the issue of Stewart's plans to build the new store, let's take a look at the history of that lot in question - and the house that once stood there - to give us some perspective on the issue.

A growing village

When Benjamin Peck Burhans brought his tanning business to Warrensburgh in 1836, he brought prosperity with him and put the village solidly on the map. The town began to grow - and the house that until recently stood on the corner of present day Stewart Farrar Ave. and Main street was built in 1850 by Joseph Russell..

Attorney Thomas Cunningham married Mary E. Burdick, 22, in 1858 and he then purchased this house and enlarged it to two stories. To make it more elegant on a tree-lined street among stately mansions, he had four tall columns constructed across the front which faced Main St. His family lived there for several generations.

Destined for greatness

Thomas Cunningham played a large part in Warrensburgh history. He was born in 1826 in the Town of Chesterfield, Essex County. He studied law with Kellogg & Hale of Elizabethtown and was admitted to the bar July 4, 1854. That year, he moved to the rough little frontier village of Warrensburgh and established a law practice here.

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