PORT TOWNSEND — The Jefferson County Historical Society is gearing up to celebrate 140 years of its history since its founding.
The historical society plans a birthday bash and special First Friday lecture about the history of the S’Klallam people May 3 at the Northwest Maritime Center, 431 Water St.
All are welcome to attend this free event to celebrate 140 years of preserving stories and community heritage, according to a press release.
The event will begin at 4 p.m. with party favors for the first 140 people to arrive and cake and champagne for a toast.
Barbarian Fine Cuisine will be set up outside at the maritime center to provide food for the party.
Historical society staff have planned a number of activities for guests to participate in — including a kiosk to browse a newly launched online collection, an oral history listening station, a raffle for two nights at Kalaloch Lodge during an annual West End Weekend, birthday hats featuring images from the historical society collection, a giant birthday card for well-wishes, the Native American education trunk, speculation on what happened to Israel Katz and a photo booth.
Speeches to honor the organization’s special guests will start at 5:30 p.m.
The historical society will honor Norm Stevens, who retired from the staff in 2018 after 10 years as the front desk greeter and docent. He shared countless stories of Jefferson County history with visitors.
The organization also will honor Gary Kennedy, who stepped down from the historical society’s board of trustees in 2018 after several years of service.
Lastly, the historical society will pay tribute to all the many volunteers, with a specific tribute for Linda Scott, who died last year. Scott provided Uptown walking tours.
First Friday lecture
The May 3 First Friday lecture at 7 p.m. will feature David Brownell, historic preservation officer for the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe.
He will talk about the village of qatay (Kai Tai, Kah Tai) and the history, archaeology and ethnography connecting the S’Klallam people and the city of Port Townsend.
The presentation will cover a general timeline of pre and post-contact Native American presence in and around Port Townsend, with a focus on primary sources, maps, photographs and oral traditions, according to a press release.
He will examine 10,000 years of archaeological evidence of human activity around Admiralty Inlet, the effects of European contact on Native populations and the early relationship between the Port Townsend pioneers and their S’Klallam and Chemakum neighbors.
He also will talk about ethnic cleansing of Port Townsend, the burning of the village of qatay in 1871 and subsequent marginalization of Native peoples in Port Townsend, and the resilience of local Natives who refused to leave their ancestral lands and returned to thrive on Port Townsend Bay despite forced removal.
Brownell received his bachelor of arts in history from Hanover College in 2009, and master of arts in public history from Wright State University in 2011.
Employed as research coordinator at the Seminole Tribe of Florida’s Tribal Historic Preservation Office (THPO) prior to moving to Washington as a Jamestown cultural resources specialist.
He was designated as the Jamestown THPO by Jamestown S’Klallam Tribal Council in 2018.