WASHINGTON, D.C. – Ahead of Portsmouth’s Bicentennial, Brown released a statement commemorating the town’s rich history and manufacturing roots. The official Bicentennial is on Sunday, March 15, but the community will gather tomorrow to celebrate Portsmouth’s 200 years. Jeanne Wilson, a representative for Senator Brown, will read the following message on his behalf.

Dear Friends:

Please allow me to extend my congratulations and best wishes to all the citizens of Portsmouth, Ohio as you celebrate your Bicentennial.

Ohio has a rich history, and for 200 years Portsmouth has played a significant part in that. As part of the route of the Underground Railroad, people in Portsmouth helped those fleeing from slavery to find freedom and better lives.

Portsmouth established its role early on as a major industrial center of the Midwest. Steel and bricks from this city helped build our nation. Portsmouth manufactured the furniture in our homes and the shoes on our feet. Our state and our country benefitted from this city’s efforts to be at the forefront of success and innovation. 

And these were not Portsmouth’s only contributions. Branch Rickey, who changed baseball when he signed Jackie Robinson, Roy Rogers who entertained us all for decades, and Herb Roe, who helped create Portsmouth’s renowned murals, all started out here. Major League baseball has seen numerous players who hailed from this city, including my friend Al Oliver. Even those born in nearby towns often claim Portsmouth as their own, such as the late Vern Riffe, who became an iconic figure in the Ohio House, and former Governor Ted Strickland.

We are grateful to have Portsmouth as a part of Ohio and for the dynamic history it has contributed. I join the people of Ohio in expressing our congratulations to you as you celebrate this very special day. I wish you all the best in the next 200 years.