Karen Peters called the meeting to order at 7 pm. Our open discussion on “Prohibition Era and the Wilmington Region” commenced. Karen summarized some newspaper articles sent in by Doug Wolfe. One was about an incident in which a mounted state trooper was run off the road by a rum runner car. The trooper tipped off Sheriff Wolfe who captured the car and arrested two men. The arrest resulted in the largest load of liquor ever intercepted in the area. Nancy McNabb sent in a couple stories, one being that her father had earned extra money while caddying at the Lake Placid Club by procuring spirits for his clients. Karen related a story from Maury Fletcher about how his father had used his horses to get a rum runner’s car unstuck in the middle of the night. Guy Stephenson related the story of how Richard Pelkey was stopped and shot to death by border patrol agents at McCulloms on the road between Paul Smiths and Malone. The story was that the border patrol agents were actually into rum running themselves. Starr Hough sent in an article about the trial which was repeatedly delayed and moved and the accused federal agent was finally acquitted of the murder. Jeri Wright told a story about her father going into Lake Ontario to dredge up bottles brought across the lake from Canada. Guy told us that he heard that the building which was most recently housed the Lake Everest Diner was a speakeasy during prohibition.
Karen then called for the Secretary’s report. Guy moved to accept the minutes as read and Gil Dyke seconded his motion. All voted in favor.
Donna Griffin, who was absent due to illness sent in a draft treasurer’s report but asked that we suspend voting on it until the next meeting. According to the draft report we have $2,620.08 in our operating account, $1,960.55 in the building transfer fund and $40,308.21 in our Adirondack Foundation Account. Our Adirondack Foundation (Wilmington Historical Society Ruth and Thomas Keegan Memorial History Center Building) Account recently received a generous donation of $7,611.88 from Dennis Keegan. We also received a generous donation from Starr Hough as a memorial to her grandparents, mother, aunt and uncle to purchase new printer/copier(s) for the WHS to assist in our genealogy and other print and copy work.
Karen then reported on our communications for the month. We received a message from Marty Podskoch that the next Adirondack 102 Club Dinner will be held Thursday, October 5, 2017 at the newly renovated Hotel Saranac in Saranac Lake. The WHS will miss Bob Winch who recently passed away. Karen told us that he had given her much history information about Wilmington over the years. Dennis Keegan sent a note telling us that the building which is currently the Pourman’s Tap House used to be owned by Dwight and Isabel Feek, who also owned a pharmacy in Ausable Forks. Serge and Carolyn Lussi ran the motel property and when the Feeks passed away they left that property to them. There was a note from new members Anthony and Helen Beck about their interest in local history and their connections with this area. Karen sent a thank you note to Shannon Surdyk for returning maple taps loaned by Doug Wolfe that had been displayed at the Wild Center. She sent a thank you to Doug Wolfe for donating those taps to the WHS. Karen also sent a thank you to Tom and Freddie Quilla of the Country Bear Restaurant for donating refreshments for all of our 2016 programs and meetings. A thank you was sent to Starr Hough for a generous donation to support our technical equipment needs in memory of her grandparents, Richard Wainwright Pelkey and Iva Beryl (Beaney) Pelkey, her mother, Laura Roberta Pelkey Hough, her aunt, Eva Lucy Pelkey Moody and her uncle, Richard Elmer Pelkey.
Our acquisitions for the month included the maple taps from Doug Wolfe and some 1980 Olympics memorabilia from the family of Bob Winch. Guy informed us that they also gave him a suitcase of newspaper clippings that he has started to review. He said that much of the material seems to pertain to Clinton County. Merri suggested that they review the contents of the suitcase at the next research meeting. Jeri Wright donated a Whiteface Mountain Ski Center patch and a Mel’s Diner brochure.
Merri Peck reported for the Library, Museum and Historical Sites Committee that she has been researching printers to determine what printers would work best for the WHS.
Karen reported for the Publications and Programs Committee that they are still working on finalizing the programs for 2017. The Adirondack Architectural Heritage program which is a repeat of last year’s very popular Santa’s Workshop program will probably be on June 29. The topic for the Festival of Colors is “School Daze”. Nancy Cressey reported for the membership and Nominations Committee that the annual membership mailing went out on February 10th.
Karen said that Harold Hinds has been referring more orders for the Wilmington Series books to the WHS.
The Building Committee met and toured the Langford house and we are considering our options.
Linda Joss-Dyke reported on progress with the whiskey run. It is proceeding well with quite a number of sponsors coming through. We will be sharing the Wilmington booth at the Sports Show in Saratoga on March 17 and 18. Tina Preston has been working on the race application and coordinating with the police and EMTs. The town is the actual sponsor of the race with the WHS to benefit. Three distillers will give tastings and the Pourman Tap House has come up with a $10 menu for racers and their families. The raffle is expected to have some very good prizes. Linda reported that she gave 30 stickers to Spruce Lodge for them to sell. She also said that she will pick up the Great Escape tickets and Starr Hough has agreed to help with that fundraiser.
Merri reported that she talked to Patrick about the changes we need on our website. We need to find out how to add items such as books and stickers to PayPal so we can sell them through the website. Merri suggested that we need to create a “map” of what we want the website to look like.
Guy told us that the individual who is supposed to take the trailer has not come to get it and does not appear to be in any hurry.
Karen wants to get a sign for Esther Mountain through the Legends and Lore Grants.
Donna participated in a webinar with Adirondack Foundation. She will report on it at a future meeting.
Guy moved to adjourn the meeting and Gil seconded his motion. The motion carried unanimously.