Recently there’s been a bit of a dust-up over the new Portland Downtown logo. It concerns the year that Portland was first settled because the words “Est. 1633” appear at the top of the new logo.

WCSH reporter Samantha Edwards has cited “historians” who argue that that year is wrong. She did not name anyone but identified a City Hall plaque that gives 1632 as Portland’s founding date. Others have said neither date is right because the city was not originally named Portland until it broke away from Falmouth in 1786.

All this being said, Maine historians Richard Judd, Joel Eastman and Edwin Churchill, in their 1995 textbook “Maine,” unequivocally state that Falmouth was settled in 1633.

Of course our region was first inhabited by the Wabanaki Nation, and visited by European explorers, fishermen and trappers for many years. However, the first permanent village was established by English merchants George Cleeve and Richard Tucker on the Portland peninsula at the base of what is now India Street in 1633!

I could cite additional online sources for the “Est. 1633” date – like Wikipedia or the Encyclopedia Britannica – but the important factor is how little of Portland’s history is even discussed today.

Residents and visitors alike enjoy our beautiful buildings and the atmosphere created by old wharves and cobblestone streets, but how much is really known about the city’s rich past? That, for example, it has been burned to the ground at least four times, including once by Native Americans, twice by the British navy and once by a Fourth of July firecracker.

I’m not clear why this discrepancy exists on such a fundamental question, but the definitive answer will require more research. What this does illustrate, however, is that there’s a lot left to be explored, discovered and learned from a 383- (or is it 384-) year-old village!

Steven W. Hewins

former executive director, Portland Downtown

Cape Elizabeth