Ceremony Saturday relocates monument to Port Angeles Harbor’s founding

PORT ANGELES – A historical marker will be rededicated in a new home on Saturday.

The ceremony will be at 2 p.m. at the marker’s new location in Valley Creek Estuary Park, at the end of Cherry Street in downtown Port Angeles.

The marker – a boulder with a bronze plaque that rested at the corner of Lincoln Street and Lauridsen Boulevard for 73 years – commemorates the discovery of Port Angeles Harbor by Spanish explorer Francisco de Eliza on Aug. 2, 1791.

He named the harbor El Puerto de Nuestra Senora de Los Angeles, meaning Port of Our Lady of the Angels.

The name was later shortened by Anglo settlers to Port Angeles.

Saturday’s ceremony will be a joint effort of the Soroptimist International of Port Angeles (Noon Club) and the Daughters of the American Revolution (Michael Trebert Chapter).

Flagpoles near the marker will display replicas of a historical 15-star United States flag from 1791, a Spanish flag from the era of de Eliza’s voyages and DAR and Soroptimist flags.

The memorial was placed at the intersection of Lincoln Street and Lauridsen Boulevard by the DAR on April 15, 1934.

It was moved to the waterfront by the Soroptimists on Aug. 10.

Over time in its original home, the monument became obscured by plants and bushes, and was barely noticeable at the busy intersection, said Soroptimist Joanie Oakes.

It was Oakes’ idea to move the monument, she said.

In 1990, she was leading tours to Hurricane Ridge for her company, Olympic Van Tours.

“I saw that plaque on the rock and wanted to know what it was,” Oakes said.

“So I looked at it and thought it was fascinating.”

She didn’t share her idea with anyone until 2003.

“It just sat in my brain all this time,” she said.

But in 2003, “I said to Linda deBord, who headed up the Valley Creek Estuary fundraising, ‘You know, there’s this rock.'”

The decision was made to move it to the park.

The marker’s new location will be more accessible to the public and will be an added attraction along the Discovery Trail, Oakes said.

“It took about four years to get everything ready to go,” Oakes said.

The Soroptimists and the DAR had to get permission to move the monument from the national DAR organization, raise funds for the move and solicit donations of time, materials and labor.

Donating work at reduced rates were Jay Ketchum of Affordable Services of Port Angeles; Bryan Anderson, who did the cement work and erected the flagpoles; Andy Slack of APS General and Electrical and Roger Wheeler of the Port Angeles R.J. Services Inc.

The rededication ceremony will include the Junior ROTC color guard, the singing of the national anthem by Sarah Shea and comments by Luis Fernando Esteban, Spain’s honorary vice consul for Washington state.

Bonnie McGill of the DAR will conduct the rededication.

Refreshments will be served.

For more information, phone Oakes at 360-452-2180 or e-mail her at [email protected]

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