The New Castle Historical Society feted Horace Greeley in style. His 200th birthday merited an entire year’s celebration.
In the spring, a scavenger hunt was held throughout the town. Participants ferreted out clues which led them on a tour of Greeley sites. During the summer, youngsters were invited to “take a trip with the Greeleys,” said NCHS executive director Betsy Towl. While the Greeley’s traveled to Europe, the children emulated the trip by playing games which would have been played on the ship including a rousing round of shuffleboard. In September, the annual gala was held in Greeley’s honor. This very special birthday party, billed as “candles and cocktails,” was attended by 125 people.
The Greeley museum updated their exhibits in Greeley’s honor. “We wanted to show the influence of the world around him,” member Toni Hutin said. Writers including Twain and Dickens gained prominence during Greeley’s lifetime.
They wrote for “The New York Tribune” and relied on Greeley for assistance in polishing their manuscripts. Music of the time featured pieces by Stephen Foster and minstrel tunes. Canna lilies and dahlias were the flowers in vogue.
While many people (including his wife Mary) partook of a bland diet prized for its healthy content, Greeley often stole away to dine on steak at Delmonico’s in the city before returning to Chappaqua.
The Historical Society is looking forward to hosting the town’s tree lighting ceremony on December 3. “It’s the beginning of the season and gets everyone in the spirit,” Towl noted. Members of the Chappaqua Orchestra will lead concertgoers from Bell to the Greeley house. Refreshments will be served by Teen Alliance.
Additional events will be held at the library, a workshop on genealogy on December 1 and the antiques lecture series on January 10, 17, and 24. For more information, visit newcastlehs.org