PORT TOWNSEND: April 24, 1851, considered the founding day — so happy 150th birthday!

PORT TOWNSEND — Queen Victoria was anticipating the opening of the Grand Exhibition of 1851 in London as Alfred A. Plummer staked the first land claim in what was to become Port Townsend.

April 24, 1851, is as good a date as any to peg the “City of Dreams”‘ founding, though at least one white settler arrived before then and talk of creating a townsite didn't occur until October of that year.

Now, 150 years later, Plummer wouldn't recognize Port Townsend with its waterfront pushed further offshore, dirt scraped from the bluffs and out-of-scale Victorian-era buildings constructed on fill.

Port Townsend residents will be exploring the city's past and reclaiming its history throughout 2001 as the Jefferson County Historical Society Museum, Port Townsend Main Street Program, Port Townsend Chamber of Commerce and Port Townsend Lodging Tax Advisory Committee commemorate the town's sesquicentennial.

The Historical Society kicks things off Sunday with the annual Founders' Day at Fort Worden State Park, but participants will be looking forward as much as they will be looking back as they kick off the society's capital campaign for the Historic City Hall Restoration Project.

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