EDITORIAL

Experience living history at Warwick’s 375th birthday

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There’s something inherently cool about living in a community that has been around for 375 years. Such a description is not possible except for a handful of places in the country – and we reside in one of them. Land we walk and enjoy was walked and enjoyed by the people who would ultimately craft and forge the nation we know as the United States of today.

In order to celebrate chapters of that history, the Warwick Historical Society and the City of Warwick are teaming up to throw a large birthday celebration party for the city at Warwick City Hall on Saturday. The hours are 12 to 3 p.m., but people are welcome to pop in and pop out at their convenience to enjoy the festivities.

There will be fun for people of all ages – including touch a truck opportunities for kids to interact with an older fire truck and a modern fire truck, face painting and lots of food to enjoy from three local food trucks (Haven Brothers, Poppy’s Waffles and Presto Strange O).

Those who fancy themselves buffs of local history will be able to read from large, poster-sized displays which give historical context and facts about some of Warwick’s most interesting tidbits of history – including its 166 historical cemeteries, many period homes which are peppered throughout the city and the old railroad which used to service the area. An “open notes” quiz will be doled out, and the top scorers will get prizes.

History will come alive as a re-enactor will be dressed as General George Sears Greene – one of the famous Greene family from Warwick whose house still stands on Centerville Road today and was a teacher to a young cadet known as Robert E. Lee – answering questions about his life and interacting with guests.

Members of the Pawtuxet Rangers – one of the country’s oldest and longest continuously active militia forces – will be on site as well in full uniform, providing a sense of history that you just can’t replicate elsewhere.

All in all the celebration – and there will be cake – is the culmination of many long months of research and volunteer efforts by the Warwick Historical Society, whose sole mission is to help generate interest and excitement about the local history of the areas we inhabit every day, perhaps unaware of the rich history all around us.

Throughout the year there have been six discussions regarding various aspects of history, mostly held at the library. These have been well-attended events, but primarily by older residents. The younger people of Warwick should take Saturday as an opportunity to get a wonderfully rich introduction into their local history, as not all places have such a storied past as Warwick does.

Taking the time to learn about those that came before us is vitally important to the potential success of our future. When one takes the time to read about historical figures, it is often shocking to realize just how similar people of the past were to the people of today. These people breathed, lived and had hopes and dreams just like us. They built houses and structures we can still see and reside I today. They wrote laws we still abide by.

History doesn’t need to be boring – and hopefully Saturday’s event can help prove that to a younger crowd. So parents of Warwick, take your kids and grandkids to a birthday party 375 years in the making. There will never be another like it.

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