The Spirit of White Plains
1930s Film Captures the City Before Post-war Urban Renewal
White Plains Historical Society
Community Images
Click on left lower arrow to start soundless movie.
The eight minute archival segment entitled The Spirit of White Plains is part of a promotional film of White Plains businesses made for a commemorative event in 1930.
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White Plains Historical Society emphasizes community history through theme events, online exhibits, and site tours by appointment. To honor the Jacob Purdy House's national distinction as George Washington's 1778 headquarters and the First President's Birthday, the Historical Society sponsors a yearly February gala. The festivities in 2009 included the raising of the flag and a gun salute by re-enactors posing as Revolutionary War soldiers, readings by President Robert Hoch from Washington's 1790 letter to the Hebrew Congregation at Newport on the rights of all citizens and by Vice-President John Vorperian from Washington's Rules of Civility and Decent Behaviour, a short film entitled Rochambeau - The Other Founding Father with an overview by Professor John Savage, and tours of the inside of the Jacob Purdy House. The affair attracted people of all ages and professions with City Council members Rita Malmud and Dennis Powers attending as well as Westchester Legislator Bill Ryan. The Historical Society's website contains a photographic exhibit of the day's events. Also planned for the 2009 year are an Annual Recognition Dinner in May and a Battle of White Plains Commemoration in October.
When compared to today, the commercial environment found in Spirit of White Plains and the transformations along Main Street portrayed in Preserving the Past in a City of Change highlight that White Plains underwent numerous renewals over the past one hundred years. Whether in response to new technologies or demographic and commercial growth, the modification of streets, enhancement of mass transit systems, and erection of new offices and homes led to the demolition of older structures or the development of open spaces. Despite the continuous modernization, at least one dwelling, the Jacob Purdy House, remains since the eighteenth century, serving as a reminder of the city's heroic contributions during the American Revolutionary War. Efforts over the past fifty years to relocate and restore the Jacob Purdy House and the community's willingness to contribute money and labor to attain these goals provide proof of the importance of people in controlling the urban environment and the value which individuals place on maintaining a connection to the past through preservation. The admission-free events at the Jacob Purdy House and history focused web exhibits are some of the ways in which the Historical Society enriches knowledge about the past and thanks the public for continued support.
Community festivities planned for the 2009 season by White Plains Historical Society follow with some of the city's parades included. Contact the Historical Society for the dates and times of Jacob Purdy House Events.
Select Yearly Events George Washington's Birthday Celebration - February
White Plains Historical Society

St. Patrick's Day Parade - March Annual Recognition Dinner - May
White Plains Historical Society
Memorial Day Parade - May
Summer Vistas from the Jacob Purdy House Park
Grounds Open to Public

July 4th Parade - July
Battle of White Plains Commemoration - October
White Plains Historical Society
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