Warwick fourth graders visit local historical sites

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:58

WARWICK - As fourth grade students from Warwick’s Park Avenue Elementary School sat quietly in their pews, The Rev. J. Scott Barker, stood in the pulpit and shouted, “Praise the Lord.” Barker, pastor of Christ Episcopal Church, was not about to preach. He was merely demonstrating the excellent acoustics achieved by the sounding board above the pulpit in the Old School Baptist Meeting House. He also told the children some of the history and interesting facts about the church such as its first pastor was named Elder Benedict and that the building was constructed in 1810 at a cost of $7,000. After the Civil War, the congregation, he added, split into two factions and by the 1950s, the total membership consisted of two elderly ladies. Rather than allow the church to be torn down and the property developed for a planned factory, they agreed to turn it over to the Historical Society. Today, the Old School Baptist Meeting House no longer holds regular services. But Barker explained that it is still used for occasional marriages, funerals, lectures and some religious services. As a member of the Historical Society of the Town of Warwick, Barker was one of 68 volunteers, adults and high school students, conducting the annual tour, Oct. 5 - 6, of the Society’s historic buildings. Local history is an important part of the fourth grade curriculum and more than 450 Warwick students from all of the Warwick Valley Central School District’s elementary schools participated in the tour. Other volunteers gave guided tours of Baird’s Tavern, the Shingle House, the 1810 House and garden, Sly Barn, the Doctor’s Office, Ketchum House and the L & HR Caboose. Under the supervision of high school student volunteers, the children were also introduced to “homespun” games, popular during Colonial days and in the early 1800s. On Wednesday, Oct. 5, three seniors in Pat Dool’s Warwick Valley High School’s communications class shot video footage and interviewed adults and students for an upcoming mini-documentary, “A Walk through Warwick’s History.” The final video will be aired on Cablevision and at school as well as in some of the historic buildings during society events.