On May 5, 1849 Hambletonian was born in Sugar Loaf, NY . He was the great grandson of an imported English thoroughbred named Messenger.
Even as a foal, Hambletonian
so impressed William Rysdyk, the stable hand who cared for him, that
he bought him for $125 from owner Jonas Seely. Hambletonian appeared
in public for the first time at the age of six months and really
wowed the crowds at the
Orange County Fair in Goshen.
Hambletonian died after 27 years on March 27,1876 and was buried on what became Hambletonian Avenue in Chester NY. Seventeen years later an impressive granite obelisk was erected paid for by friends and well wishers. In the meantime, a neighborhood grew up around the monument and the small memorial enclosure around the obelisk presents a rather unique tableau.
Famous descendants of Hambletonian include Dexter (2:17 /¼), Lou Dillon (the first two minute trotter), Maud S., Billy Direct (1:55), Greyhound and the 1995 Hambletonian winner, Tagliabue.
In the very early 1900's the Chester schools became known as the "Hustlin' Hambletonians". Although the horse ran under the colors of black and scarlet, the school colors where changed to orange and blue. One theory is that the first uniforms in black and scarlet were found years later, and had faded to resemble orange and blue, but no one is sure.
There still is a race for trotters held every year known as The Hambletionian. More information on Hambletonian can be found at the Harness racing Museum & Hall of
Fame, P.O. Box 590, 240 Main Street, Goshen, NY 10924. Their email address is: www.harnessmuseum.com.
Chester, like many towns in Orange County, New York was made up of farms. The school has always been considered one of the smaller schools in regards to the number of students enrolled since it started, and still is today. Although we may be small, we boast many championships in both boys and girls sports. We believe
it was the speed, agility, and heart of Hambletionian who inspired our early day athletes as formidable opponents. For many years the sports offered were basketball, baseball, soccer and softball. These continue today, with a brief period of football in the early 1950's. Football and track have recently been added into the sports program as well.
We are proud of our mascot, and our history, although many of our alumni and current student body know that Hambletonian was a great horse, not everyone knows why or the importance of the history.