WARRENSBURG As their cell phone displays changed from 5:59 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday Feb 12, nearly two dozen local citizens let out a collective cheer, hailing the arrival of Warrensburg’s bicentennial.
Gathered on the porch of the Cornerstone Victorian Bed & Breakfast at the urging of town historian Sandi Parisi, the group of history buffs rang bells and whirled various noisemakers in their ceremony to mark the 200th year — to the very day — since the town of Warrensburg was founded.
On Feb. 12, 1813, local leaders met in the Warren House, a local tavern and hotel, and they signed documents to form the town, according to accounts of the town’s history.
In the distance on Tuesday evening, the bells of various local churches rang out. In the First Presbyterian Church several blocks away, Tom Birdsall stood in the darkness of the church’s belfry, pulling on a thick rope to sound a bell believed to be nearly as old as the town.
At the urging of local Chamber of Commerce official Lynn Smith, the group at Cornerstone Victorian broke into a chorus of “Happy Birthday — Warrensburg.”
It’s thrilling that so many people came here to ring in the next 100 years,” Parisi said after the group’s song subsided.
Bob and Peggy Knowles shook a decorative cowbell from Switzerland for the celebration. Mike Sullivan pressed a button on his smartphone that played faux chimes.
Liz Sebald and others, however, took a break to reminisce. Sebald has lived in Warrensburg since her birth in 1939. She recalled how much of the ambiance of olden days has been retained. One major difference is the “new” subdivision built decades ago northeast of the historic Ashe’s Hotel off Hudson St., built where the Warren County Fairgrounds once stood.
“I remember as a child, how I used to sneak under the fence for the horse races there,” Sebald said. ”Warrensburg was a great town to grow up in — It was lots of fun.”