Portsmouth: Get ready to party like it’s 2023!

By John Tabor – Seacoast Media Group – Posted Jul 1, 2018

For more information, email: Portsmouth400@PortsmouthHistory.org

How does a city throw itself a birthday party? Both Portsmouth and Dover were settled in 1623 and will celebrate their 400th anniversary in 2023 (Portsmouth’s claim to 1623 may stretch some facts in order to be the older sibling to Dover, but we’ll let the historians parse that out.)

I went to a meeting for the 400th Wednesday at the Portsmouth Public Library, along with about 50 residents. The dialogue that brought forth a bevy of ideas aimed at making the 400th a rollicking good community-wide event.

First, we learned Portsmouth has a long tradition of birthday bashes, some of the biggest being 1823 and 1923. A promoter and pageant creator named Virginia Tanner was hired in 1923 and recruited 1,000 locals for a pageant showing tableaus of the city’s history. These live tableaus with painted scenes took place on a series of August days on open land near the Sagamore cemetery. The promotional drumbeat sounded for months. Later, downtown streets featured giant pine-bough arches with a parade of native sons and daughters. It turns out 1823 was a more dour affair mainly devoted to a parade and eating oysters, and an effort at a 350th never really reached launch velocity. [Read more…]

How Would You Celebrate Portsmouth400?

Portsmouth NH Masons 1923 Arch

Middle Street arch in 1923 during 300th anniversary celebration. (Photo courtesy Portsmouth Athenaeum Collection)

JULY 2018

Portsmouth400 held two public input sessions at Portsmouth Public Library in June 2018. Attendance was great and we received hundreds of ideas. If you were unable to attend but have some ideas, Please “Share Your Thoughts” at the link below. The ideas we receive through August 2018 will be combined to formulate a strategic plan. We will share the results of the June 2018 public input sessions on this webpage and enews in September.

Additional public input and informational sessions will be scheduled for the fall. We value everyone’s ideas and look forward to hearing from you!

For more information, email: Portsmouth400@PortsmouthHistory.org

We value your input! Please share what you’d like to see included!

Share Your Thoughts
[Read more…]

How Would You Celebrate Portsmouth400?

June 2018

Since 1823 our forebears have been celebrating the 1623 arrival of the first European settlers at what is now Odiorne’s Point in Rye. Previous anniversaries featured elaborate floral arches, parades newly published books, grand speeches, poems, elaborate pageants, and all manner of souvenirs–often prepared at the last minute.

This time we are planning ahead and we want your input. Portsmouth Historical Society and the City of Portsmouth, NH, are gearing up for a very special 2023. Portsmouth400 is also an opportunity to create programs that will keep our unique history alive and relevant for generations to come. [Read more…]

Susan Labrie Named Director, Portsmouth400

December 2017

Susan Labrie

Susan Labrie

With the countdown to 2023 now six years away, Portsmouth Historical Society has named Susan Labrie director of Portsmouth400. Labrie was selected from a host of talented candidates by the Portsmouth400 Steering Committee, which was established as a cooperative effort between the City of Portsmouth and the Society. Labrie will work full-time for the Society as the liaison to the Steering Committee that will oversee fundraising and public outreach and coordinate events and programs leading up to and during the anniversary celebration. Read More (PDF). . .