Historic New Milford horse celebrated

NEW MILFORD — Even though she grew up in Sherman, 89-year-old Jean Susann Sheldon vividly remembers the white papier-mache horse that stood outside of Green’s Warehouse in neighboring New Milford, where her family would often go to shop.

“There are two things I remember as a child (about New Milford),” Sheldon said. “The fountain by Town Hall and that white horse.”

The horse stood out to her because she so badly wanted a horse of her own at the time, Sheldon said. Then, when her daughter got her own horse, the two would visit the warehouse to buy bridles, bits and other supplies.

The Sheldons were just two of dozens of people who shared their memories of the horse, named Chief Waramaug Green, during its 100-year “birthday party” held at the New Milford Historical Society on Saturday.

The party featured historical photos of the horse, a birthday cake and a watercolor rendering of one of the photos, which was auctioned off in a raffle.

Chief Waramaug Green stood next to the painting “all dressed up” in a saddle, just as he had when he modeled products for Green’s Warehouse until it closed in 1986. He became known during that time as “the horse on the porch.”

The horse, which was brought to New Milford by rail in 1918, was then donated to the historical society.

“He is such an icon,” said Anita Regan, who is a member of the historical society’s board.

Mayor Pete Bass made an appearance at the party to declare March 10 “Chief Waramaug Green Day.”

Those who remembered the white horse were asked Saturday to record their stories through a booth set up by Connecticut Crossroads Oral History.

Amie Walston, registrar for the society, said the memories will be available on the company’s website and likely compiled for the historical society’s gift shop.

“So many people come in and see the horse and they have an emotional reaction,” Walston said. “He’s just so nostalgic. So, why not collect those emotions and that attachment?”

Walston added that the horse is well known by the older generations in New Milford and the younger children who visit the historical society on field trips.

“It’s really a New Milford landmark,” she said.