Committee To Decide 80th Historical Marker In 2024

Jamestown officials in 2022 unveiled a historical marker preserving the legacy of the Winter Garden Theater. The city’s Historical Marker Committee is currently preparing its 79th marker for this year. P-J file photo by Timothy Frudd

The city’s Historical Marker Committee is preparing its 79th marker for this year and 80th marker in 2024.

Decisions for new historical markers — which commemorate historic people, places, things and events — are discussed at the beginning of each year and are usually announced in the fall.

“As of right now, there is no official decision yet for 2023 as I have taken the public’s comments to the committee, and we’ll begin discussion over that,” City Historian Ashley Senske said. “I am actually waiting to hear from Dan Stone on whether or not we officially did receive city funding for a marker. I, as the city historian, am not paid nor do I receive a budget. It’s all under the Parks Department, and Dan and those before him in his position would have it as a line item for the council to approve — the amount that is asked for is essentially the cost of manufacturing one marker per year. Which is why we only do one a year.”

Senske heard back from Stone with the official news that the committee had received the amount of funds needed.

The Historical Marker Committee for the city is made up of Clair Carlson, Karen Livsey, Arthur Osterdahl, Traci Langworthy, Dolores Thompson, City Historian Emeritus, and Senske.

Senske said the process throughout the year has been to seek input before the official decision as to what the marker will be is made.

“The process of it, as long as I have been leading it, has been to seek input from the committee,” Senske said. “I’ve also added two new people to the committee to expand the input. I also care to ask the public because it is their history too, they deserve to have a say.”

Once a decision is reached by the committee, they then have to research for several months and spend time deciding how to word the marker.

“The committee and I spend a week or so going over thoughts on how to word the marker itself, which is not as easy as some might think,” Senske said. “Some of these places we are trying to cover 100 years worth of history on five to seven lines. I typically like having the dedication ceremonies in the Fall after Labor Day, and since the marker manufacturer needs about six weeks turnaround time, I try to get them the final text and proofs approval in early August so that it is ready for September. Then, depending on the schedule of the Mayor and Parks Dept members, we’ll pick a date in late September or early October.”

Last year’s historical marker was placed at the site of the former Winter Garden Theater.

While this year’s is far from being official, Senske said she is already looking for a big one to do next year. This year’s marker will be marker 79 and next year’s will be the city’s 80th.

“We are approaching the 80th marker in 2024, so I am looking to do something with real citywide significance next year due to hitting such a big milestone,” Senske said.

The guide book detailing all of the city’s historical markers can be found under the Historical Marker Program tab on the Parks and Recreation section of the City of Jamestown website.


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