Markers celebrate Original Washington’s past

Published 5:02 pm Friday, September 22, 2017

They are placed here and there in Washington, the majority of them in the downtown area.

Silver and black signs, they share a bit of history about the first city in America to be named for George Washington. A walk through the area quickly becomes a mini-history lesson, celebrating the individuals and events leaving their mark on Washington.

The North Carolina Highway Historical Markers program was established by the General Assembly in 1935; prior to this, the state’s historical commission and such groups as the United Daughters of the Confederacy and the Daughters of the American Revolution raised funds and placed markers of a different design at sites of interest across the state.

Today, markers in Beaufort County stretch from Belhaven and Bath to Chocowinity and Aurora.

The first ones erected in Washington, dating back to 1939, recall the girlhood home of Dr. Susan Dimock, the first woman member of the N.C. Medical Society; the 1862 attack on Washington by Federal troops; and the 1864 burning of Washington during the Civil War.

Other markers have followed in the ensuing years, with Washington’s most recent cast in 2016. It commemorates the role of African-Americans in the 1863 siege of Washington and stands on Main Street near the Underground Railroad Museum and the Civic Center.