TOWN OF WALLKILL – A standing room only crowd joined local officials and dignitaries at the Wallkill Town Hall on Thursday evening to celebrate the official kickoff of their Semi-Sesquicentennial (250-Year) Birthday celebration.
Numerous proclamations were declared and some gifts were given to residents who have contributed significant accomplishments and work for Wallkill throughout recent years.
Along its 250 years the town has accumulated an amazing history. Its birthday story starts with the town being technically older than the nation, and its first town supervisor missing his chance to sign the Declaration of Independence because he was so busy helping the Middletown munitions factory do their work creating gunfire for soldiers still in the battlefields.
Current Town Supervisor George Serrano said that with the hard times of the past two years being over, in the close-knit community, he wanted to start a yearlong celebration to honor the 250-years in a big way.
Former Town Supervisor and retired State Supreme Court Justice Joseph Owen treated the crowd to stories of just a few of Wallkill’s special memories in the 20th century.. First there was the construction of Orange Plaza, a shopping plaza that greatly pleased the community. But next there were the efforts of Consolidated Edison to run a high-capacity electric line all the way from north of Quebec, Canada to New York City, right through the middle of the Town Wallkill. It took years of litigation to stop its construction.
But he said for many people, the most interesting story was how Wallkill came very close to being the site of the more than 100,000 Woodstock festival that eventually regrouped in Bethel. Plans and even some construction had even been started on acreage at Blumel Road in the late 60’s, until he and the other board members filed a ‘stop work order,’ and wrote the first of its kind law limiting large gatherings, a law that is very much still in use in New York today.
The historic moments of note continued with some other fascinating factoids, presented by local historian Bob Mayer. He treated the residents to samples from Wallkill’s discovery of two Mammoth remains which were lent to Albany for exhibit and which they want to bring back home. Mayor held up two ginormous teeth from the gigantic beast.
Heather Bell-Mayer, president of the Orange County Chamber of Commerce, and her team held a bright orange ribbon-cutting ceremony signifying the beginning of what will be an entire year of Wallkill Semi-Sesquicentennial celebrations. The backdrop of a gigantic balloon logo that Supervisor Serrano and his team created a party atmosphere that lasted all evening.
Additional celebrations include an Easter Egg Hunt that will be held next Saturday at Circleville Park, 50 Creamery Road at 10 a.m.