The new “Welcome – Village of Hamburg” signs are picturesque, with a depiction of Eighteen Mile Creek in the center.
The signs will be placed at the entrances to the village, after the village decides what date to put on them.
The prototype produced by Imagine-Hamburg, the community group that is sponsoring the signs, lists 1803 on the bottom.
But the village seal lists 1874 as the village incorporation date.
And Village Board members know someone will notice the different dates, and want to know why they would not be the same.
“There is a difference between emphasizing our history and the legal aspects of Hamburg being incorporated as a village,” said Mary Ellen Glass of Imagine-Hamburg. “Hopefully, you are open to understanding why we want emphasis on our tremendous historical heritage, which was one of the primary goals for the new signage.”
Trustee Thomas Tallman brought up the different dates several weeks ago.
“My thought was, welcome to the Village of Hamburg, which wasn’t in existence till 1874,” he said. “The Village of Hamburg became the Village of Hamburg in 1874. Before that it was Hamburg.”
Settlers were living in what is now the village for more than 70 years before it was incorporated, and land for the first grist mill was purchased in 1806, Glass and Chris Snyder told Village Board members in their work session Monday.
Snyder said any questions or confusion about the sign are an opportunity.
“We don’t see it as a negative, we see it as an opportunity to teach about our historic past to help get excitement for our historic past,” she said.
“Our creek theme and the date 1803 is one teachable moment,” Glass said.
Trustee Laura Hackathorn said if 1803 is chosen, the research into the establishment of the village should be published, to answer questions before they arise.
Snyder said the goals for the new signs are to have visible, attractive signs at 11 village gateways, raise awareness of the importance of Eighteen Mile Creek and raise awareness of the “historic past” of the village.
“We need to teach the story because we need, down the road, young people to get excited, interested and involved in our history so that they carry on after we are no longer here,” she said.