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Friday, June 3, 2016

Olde Towne Portsmouth, Virginia Square(d)- The Portsmouth Heritage Initiative

by Joe Elder

A respectable turnout of Portsmouth residents, members of the press, City of Portsmouth
A map of Portsmouth, Virginia, 1851 showing
the original names of the town squares.
Department Heads including Portsmouth City Manager Dr. Lydia Patton were present late morning for the inaugural installation of the corner stones to be laid in place, naming the historic squares as originally laid out in 1751 by Colonel William Crawford, the  founder of the town of Portsmouth, Virginia. The stones were presented by the Portsmouth Heritage Initiative under the direction by founder Aaron Kelley, with the first two historic square stones located on opposite sides of the two hundred block of High Street.

The Portsmouth Heritage Initiative project titled "Portsmouth Square(d)" was introduced by Aaron Kelley who discussed the history of the original town plan designed by Colonel William Crawford in 1752 and the significance of the size and scope of the square installations planned for installation over the next year and how it compares in importance to similar port cities like Savannah, Georgia that was laid out in squares in the 1730's similar to Portsmouth, Virginia. Aaron expressed the importance of preserving our history and presenting it through creative incentives as a way to demonstrate it to others.

Planned installations of the historic squares. High Street squares are shown in yellow, historic Olde Towne district in green and new towne in orange.

Other remarks were made by Portsmouth's mayor Kenny Wright followed by The Olde Towne Business Association's President, Tony Goodwin. The mayor also expressed his thoughts
Major Kenny Wright and Portsmouth Heritage
Initiative Director Aaron Kelley prepare to
install the first square marker.
concerning the importance of preserving our cities history and that we should learn from it as we move forward into the future. These remarks were followed by the reading of declaration by Paul Danaher and a praise by Ricky Price, actor Colonel Crawford in costume. The ceremony was completed with closing remarks by Aaron Kelley, and the first stone "Golden Square" installed  by Aaron Kelley and Mayor Kenny Wright adjacent to the Portsmouth Towne Bank building, and in front of the bronze sculpture of Colonel William Crawford. This was followed immediately with the installation of "Bloomsberry Square" stone on the opposite corner of the two hundred block of High Street.

The Portsmouth Heritage Initiative was formed to illuminate and enhance the rich history of the City of Portsmouth through education, marketing, and tourism promotion. We believe that our history is one of the city’s greatest competitive advantages. This was the second heritage initiative with the first being the dramatic silhouette wall mural painting along the historic Cedar Grove Cemetery wall on Effingham Street depicting the battle of Craney Island that took place here in Portsmouth during the War of 1812.

The inaugural stone square marker installed at Golden Square
in front of Towne Bank.

For more information about Portsmouth's historic squares, go to my blog

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