What can you share about Portsmouth's past 50 years?

When the city commemorated its 350th anniversary in 1973, a historical record was compiled. The Portsmouth NH 400th Committee has charged author Chuck McMahon to bring the record up to date for the 400th Commemorative Book.

“Not all essays will make it into the book, but we’re inviting anyone who lived or worked in Portsmouth in the last fifty years to submit a 400-word short story or essay chronicling a special memory you have about this great city," McMahon said in a statement. "Bring us back to the moment, describing in vivid detail what Portsmouth was like during this time. We will accept stories about any event since 1973, even if your memory is a recent one. We invite you to help us write the history of the last half-century!”

McMahon is already well versed in Portsmouth history as the author of Legendary Locals of Portsmouth.

Cover of the Portsmouth 350 Commemorative Book, Commemorative medals
Cover of the Portsmouth 350 Commemorative Book, Commemorative medals (Portsmouth Public Library)

The Portsmouth 350 Commemorative Book covered the entire 350 years of Portsmouth's existence from 1623. It included a month-by-month recounting of significant events in text and pictures and compared the names of streets and wharfs between 1813 and 1972.

It included a list of grants and patents for New Hampshire and Maine, and the history of city churches and organizations. A shorter second part was also issued.

Like the 350th anniversary book, the 400th Commemorative Book will include a list of sponsors and donors. It will also include 400th anniversary events, projects, and programs happening throughout 2023 to celebrate.

Stories of 400 words or less, as a Word document or link, can be submitted by November 1, 2022, in an email to Stories.PNH400@gmail.com. Submissions will be reviewed for accuracy and edited for length and content.

Portsmouth NH 400th already announced the return of Thunder Over New Hampshire on September 9 and 10, 2023, as one of its major events. Specific performers and groups such as the Blue Angels and the Thunderbirds have yet to be announced.

Two other major events have also been announced for the celebration: a parade on June 3, and a community dinner on Congress Street August 28, 2023.

"We have permission from the city to shut down Congress Street from Market Street to Junkins Avenue with one long table with thousands of our closest friends for an amazing dinner and entertainment," Managing Director Valerie Rochon told Seacoat Current.

Rochon couldn't name the entertainment but promised it would "knock your socks off."

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNH

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