Celebrate the Spirit of 1776
Sense the life of a patriot as you explore the White Plains Heritage Trail, which guides you along 24 historic sites in an 11-mile loop through White Plains, West Harrison and North Castle and enjoy White Plains historic walking loops which highlight White Plains’ rich history. These trails are a great way to get your exercise while learning of the important role White Plains had in the founding of our nation.
Historical Sites include:
The White Plains County Court House, located on South Broadway, was the site of the Provincial Assembly of the Colony of New York. The Assembly approved the Declaration of Independence on July 9 1776, and changed its name to the Convention of the Representatives of the State of New York. On July 11, Judge John Thomas of Purchase read the Declaration aloud from the courthouse steps. Since this was the first time New York was called a state and the Declaration of Independence was proclaimed in New York, White Plains became known as “The Birthplace of the State of New York.
The Battle of White Plains Park located at Whitney and Battle Avenues is the site of The Battle of White Plains. The Battle of White Plains was part of the greater struggle for New York in 1776. Directed by General Howe, British and Hessian troops drove the Continental army off Chatterton Hill, but they did not pursue them or take on the main line of Washington’s army, which was spread across White Plains. Over the next few days, while Howe waited for reinforcements and then for the ground to dry from a heavy rainstorm, Washington withdrew from Purdy Hill to Mount Misery and Miller Hill in North Castle. The rocky terrain and swamps there made a second successful attack by the British impossible. Howe and his forces returned to New York City, and Washington’s army crossed the Hudson at Peekskill. They would be victorious at Trenton and Princeton in the following weeks.
It is believed General Washington utilized the Jacob Purdy House from October 23 to 31, 1776 as his headquarters for the Battle of White Plains and then moved to North Castle. He returned to Purdy House in the summer of 1778. The house was moved to its current location at 60 Park Avenue in 1973 to avoid demolition. By 1989 it was fully restored.
The Captain John Falconer House was on the Village Street, what is now present-day Main Street east of Broadway. British soldiers headquartered there after Washington’s withdrawal to North Castle in 1776. Falconer House was also the Frenchman Duc de Lauzun’s headquarters in 1781. His troops, known as “Lauzun’s Legion,” camped on Battle Hill before marching onto the last major land battle of the war, the Siege of Yorktown, Virginia.