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Back in the 1830s there was a village called Princeton. This small community grew and prospered until finally, on Feb. 20, 1909, a move was made to incorporate created the City of Princeton. When Feb. 20, 2009 arrives, the city will start celebrating the centennial of its existence.


“What a lot of people don’t know is that we’re celebrating the incorporation,” said Connie Shumate of the Princeton Public Library. “Because before there was a City of Princeton, there was a village of Princeton as early as 1837. On Feb. 20, 1909, the city was incorporated, and if you know the history of the area, you know that the incorporation of the Virginian Railway and the city went hand-in-hand.”

PRINCETON — Back in the 1830s there was a village called Princeton. This small community grew and prospered until finally, on Feb. 20, 1909, a move was made to incorporate created the City of Princeton. When Feb. 20, 2009 arrives, the city will start celebrating the centennial of its existence.


“What a lot of people don’t know is that we’re celebrating the incorporation,” said Connie Shumate of the Princeton Public Library. “Because before there was a City of Princeton, there was a village of Princeton as early as 1837. On Feb. 20, 1909, the city was incorporated, and if you know the history of the area, you know that the incorporation of the Virginian Railway and the city went hand-in-hand.”

Centennial celebrations get underway today when the Princeton City Council meets at 7:30 p.m. at the Princeton Municipal Building.

“Mr. William Sanders, a local attorney, local historian and local author, will be at city council at the very beginning of the meeting,” Shumate said. “We have 10 of his books on the reference shelves at the library. His newest one is called, ‘Old Town Princeton, Mercer County, W.Va.’ He really is an extraordinary storyteller.”

Centennial celebrations continue Feb. 20 at noon in the historic Mercer Street School. The public will be invited and the school’s students will be there as well, Shumate said.

“We want them to know about the history of their town,” she said. “We will be serving birthday cake that day, and the birthday cake will be decorated to look like the city seal, so we’re excited about that.”

One Princeton area child will be telling the public why he or she loves Princeton in 200 words or less.

“We’re sponsoring a ‘Why I Love Princeton’ writing contest in honor of the city’s centennial,” Shumate said. “The deadline is Feb. 16, and they can submit their essays at the library. They need to include their name, grade, name of school and phone number. There are three categories: K-1, 2-3 and 4-5. There will be prizes in each category. The grand prize winner will read their entry at the centennial celebration Feb. 20. All prizes will have something to do with one hundred.”

There are also plans to honor Princeton’s mayors during the Feb. 20 celebration at the school.

Soon most residents will know that Princeton has turned 100 years old.

“We’re also having banners made to go across the Thorn Street Bridge. Those will be up the week of the 20th and they will say ‘100 Years of Progress, City of Princeton, with the city seal with the dates 1909-2009.”

Centennial plans for Feb. 20 include a free concert at 7 p.m. at the Princeton Railroad Museum on Mercer Street. Local entertainer Clinton Collins will perform, Shumate said.

“It’s a free concert, but seating is limited, so we’re asking folks to come by either the library or city hall to pick up their tickets,” she said. “They will be available beginning Tuesday, Feb. 10.”

The centennial celebrations won’t end on Feb. 20. Organizers plan to mark the special anniversary every remaining month of 2009. In March, there will be a display of young artists’ work at the library in conjunction with the All Together Arts Week being organized by Create West Virginia.

Celebrations are still be organized. For June, there are tentative plans to have the U.S. Navy Band “Current Country” at the Chuck Mathena Center, Shumate said.

“We will be asking for donations of canned food,” she added.

For Christmas, centennial plans call for an official lighting of the Christmas tree before the annual Princeton Christmas Parade. A Centennial Easter Egg Hunt is planned for April.

“We’re going to do this each and every month,” Shumate said of the centennial plans. Almost every month of 2009 will have a moment for remembering the City of Princeton’s 100th birthday.

By GREG JORDAN
Bluefield Daily Telegraph

 

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