Williamsburg’s Bicentennial Celebration kicks off Monday with a “Historical Picture Show,” and will be followed with a dedication ceremony the following Saturday for a historical marker honoring Williamsburg founder Samuel Cox.
Starting Monday the “Historical Picture Show” will play on a loop in the city council meeting room at Williamsburg City Hall during regular business hours throughout the month of April.
The picture show will feature displays of photos featuring former mayors, in addition to pictures related to the history of the city school, churches, business and other significant historical events and people in town history, noted Williamsburg Main Street Manager Nannie Hays, who is helping to put together the picture show presentation along with several other local residents.
On Saturday, April 7, there will be a dedication ceremony for a historical marker honoring Williamsburg founder Samuel Cox, which will take place at noon near the Whitley County Judicial Center.
In 1818, Cox, who owned a tavern near the site of the current judicial center, agreed to donate six acres of land where the first courthouse and other government buildings could be built.
Williamsburg Mayor Roddy Harrison said that the historical marker would be placed between the judicial center and Main Street.
“Actually, it is close to where his house was,” Harrison noted. “It is definitely on the property that he donated.”
Immediately after the historical marker dedication on April 7, there will be dedications for the nature trail and river launch, which are both located on First Street.
Later that evening from 6 – 8 p.m., the Whitley County Fine Arts Bicentennial Exhibit “ARTifacts: 20 decades of Whitley County” will debut to the public at the fine arts center, which is located across the street from city hall.
The fine arts center has expanded the deadline for submissions for the exhibit until 4:30 p.m. Friday, March 30, at the fine arts center.
“Join us in celebrating 200 years of Whitley County history by submitting artifacts that reflect the history and culture of Whitley County. Suggestions include: handmade items, household items, farm tools, historic clothing, etc.,” Fine Arts Extension Agent Cortney Moses, said in a release.
“All submissions welcome, but not all will be selected. After receiving submissions, a panel of local jurors will review artifacts to curate an exhibit that creatively reflects our bicentennial theme and celebration.”
There is a limit of no more than five artifacts per person, and no photographs will be accepted.
After the opening reception, the exhibit will be on display until June 29 from 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday at the Whitley County Fine Arts Center
Future events include: dedication of the “Wall of Mayors” on April 9; an ice cream social and costume contest on April 14; and a historical homes tour and a benefit concert for the Lane Theater on April 21.
The celebration will culminate with a series of events on April 28, including a walk-run, bicycle rodeo, parade, birthday gala, and frontiersmen, colonial and civil war era encampments near the old courthouse.
Whitley County was founded in 1818 with Williamsburg as its county seat.
Williamsburg officials are concentrating their celebration in April because this is the month that Williamsburg was selected as the county seat 200 years ago.
Harrison said the main goal of the month-long celebration is to acknowledge, “our little town has been around for 200 years.”
“If we can instill a little more pride in our community and if people can learn a little history and have a good time at the same time it will have been a success,” Harrison added.
Look for a full-page ad highlighting all the city’s bicentennial events in this week’s edition of the News Journal on page A-3.