A house of history and warmth: The Warner House Constitution Island, West Point

| 21 Feb 2012 | 10:49

    When you first step off the boat and arrive on Constitution Island you can't help but feel a sense that this place is surreal, beautiful, and untouched by the outside world. Than a familiar sensation creeps over you as though you have stepped into this storybook before and your eyes are overcome with fixation. You can almost see the Warner sisters picking their strawberries from their garden or the West Point cadets sitting eagerly on the lawn to learn the teachings of the Bible. The Warner House on Constitution Island is my favorite historical place to visit. Perhaps the beauty of the little white colonial house, known as the Warner House, comes from the sunlight that reflects off its green shutters, or the lovely paths of those very same wildflowers the Warner sisters used to grow in the late eighteenth century. Maybe the beauty comes from the Hudson River that surrounds the Island. Whichever the case maybe you can't help but feel calm and relaxed as you take your first steps on the Island and up to the Warner House for an unforgettable journey in time. The Warner House belonged to Henry Warner who moved his entire family from New York City in 1836 to the Island. The Warner sisters, Anna and Susan, became popular in the late eighteenth century for their writing. Between them, they wrote over 100 publications, using pen names. Susan wrote The Wild Wild World in 1850 and it became a best seller, second to Uncle Tom's Cabin. Anna wrote the words to the hymn, Jesus Loves Me and she wrote a popular gardening book, Gardening by Myself. Anna was one of the first ladies in her day to acknowledge and be proud to work in the dirt. Both sisters taught Sunday school to West Point cadets for over forty years. The sisters would row each week across the Hudson River and to the United States Military Academy to transport their students to and from the Island. The Warner house consists of eight rooms all restored in its original condition, which makes this house quite unique when you enter. You can really get a glimpse of the life that the Warner sisters use to lead when you browse the house from top to bottom, hi one part of the house there is a very thick wall that existed at the time of the Revolutionary War. It is still standing today. Not only was the wall apart of American history but also the Island served as an anchor point for the great chain that stretched across the Hudson River during the war to deter the British forces from sailing. Upon Anna's death in 1915 she and philanthropist Mrs. Russell Sage jointly gave the island to the United States Government under Theodore Roosevelt. It is part of West Point today. The Warner House on Constitution Island is a beautiful place to visit with family and friends. (Editor's Note: Nicole DeMaria article was entered in the Orange County Day essay competition)