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Minutes of the Wilmington Historical Society Meeting

Wilmington Historical Society
Minutes of Meeting
7:00 PM, Wednesday, April 21, 2003


Karen Peters, Ceil Stephenson, Guy Stephenson, Jr., Jeanne Ashworth, Steve Connor, Jean Huntington, Doug Wolfe, Colin Loher

President Karen Peters called the meeting to order at 7:07 pm. Minutes of the March 17 meeting were reviewed and accepted, motion to accept by Guy, seconded by Doug. All voted in favor. Treasurer’s report was given. There is $245.00 in new membership dues since the last meeting, with a total balance of $3, 364.72. Motion to accept the report moved by Guy and seconded by Doug, unanimously accepted.

Doug Wolfe gave a presentation, showing a video of the film, “Governor Roosevelt’s Dedication of the Whiteface Memorial Highway Project, September 11, 1929.” Doug gave some background information, including the weather of the day the video was taken. The video was amazingly clear and showed much of Lake Placid (imagine only a sign telling of the future construction of the 1932 Olympic Arena, the landmark with which we are so familiar), Whiteface (no road to the top, and no castle), and Wilmington (imagine all farmland and no motels), as well as FDR and the local officials and townspeople of the time. All of those present enjoyed the presentation, getting the true feeling of the excitement for the project during those times, and gaining some understanding of the importance of the venture for the Whiteface area. The video is an important “window into the past”, and certainly a valuable resource for understanding the history of Wilmington.

Jeanne Ashworth, Wilmington Town supervisor, filled us in on skating films which exist of her participation in skating races as a child on Lake Everest in Wilmington which document her “start” as a three-time Olympian. Ceil Stephenson will look into locating the films for us. In a future Historical Society program, Jeanne is willing to give a presentation on her Olympic experiences.

Jeanne also informed us that a plaque from the original dam work is available at the town hall to be established as a monument somewhere overlooking the dam site. Doug, Steve and Guy will work with Jeanne on “dam history”.

Under communications, Karen reported on a letter from Robert Schneider, who is willing to do research on a Wilmington historical character and create role-plays in the future relative to educational programs. Karen also announced that our meeting and program announcement for this meeting and future meetings and programs will be on the Community Calendars for 3 newspapers ---- The Plattsburgh Press Republican, the Lake Placid News, and the Essex County Free Trader. Special programs, including the program for this meeting, are, and will continue to be, posted in the Wilmington Library, the Post Office, and the Town Hall. Anna Court also gave us an information packet on beginning genealogy research, and a copy of an archival catalogue.

Bob and Nancy Cressey digitally copied and produced a CD of the recently discovered 1822 Wilmington Town Records. One copy will be sent to Professor Harold Hinds, for his documentation efforts of the Town of Wilmington.

Photos of Wilmington and the families of Phil and Steve Connor have been reproduced by Bob Peters, with assistance from Steve Connor and Marge Swift. A motion was made by Doug Wolfe and seconded by Colin Loher to cover the cost of film and developing for the project, $28.46. A vote was taken and the motion carried.

Karen reported from the Whiteface Visitor’s Bureau meeting. Karen had suggested to the Bureau that perhaps the Wilmington Historical Society and the Town of Jay, and any other towns interested, could become involved in the annual Battle of Plattsburgh celebration, beginning in September, 2005, since the militia for this famous War of 1812 battle saw much participation from this area.

Doug Wolfe also summarized the “Reuben Ride” (founder of Wilmington, and War of 1812 hero), as a ride that could be a tourist activity, possibly mapped with historical sites noted. This could be brought up at a future Visitor’s Bureau meeting.

Nominations for 4 positions on the Wilmington Historical Society and Board of Trustees are open --- President for a 1 year term, Vice-president for a 1 year term, Secretary for a 1 year term, and Steve Connor’s seat on the Board of Trustees as a 3 year term. So far, all incumbents have been re-nominated (Karen Peters for President, Merri Peck for Vice-president, Nancy Cressey for Secretary, and Steve Connor for Trustee), but other nominations are welcome. Voting will take place at the annual meeting on Wednesday, June 2, at the Wilmington Town Hall Community Center.

The question regarding the number of membership cards to be given to families brought up at the last meeting was clarified. $20.00 for either 2 individuals or a family membership receives 2 cards.

The Wilmington guns need more research, but the feeling in the group is to do as much restoration as possible with the $1500.00 available from the town of Wilmington and to move them to the trailer when it arrives. Doug believes that there is some evidence that one of the guns is connected to General George Custer. We may be able to obtain more information from Lucille Obst or others. Jean Huntington revealed a story about her brother and one of the guns.

The fundraiser blanket was tabled until next meeting since Merri Peck was absent.

The Wilmington Historical Society mission statement was briefly discussed. No change was made.

Karen Peters, Bob Peters, Bob Cressey and Nancy Cressey went to Paul Smith’s Library on Monday, April 19, to see the Past Perfect Archival Catalogue Program in action. Sue Mitchell, Paul Smith’s librarian took the time to explain and show the program, and make recommendations for our purchase. We appreciate her time and efforts to assist us. Doug Wolfe made a motion to purchase the Past Perfect software program with digital option and scatter/gather capabilities for a total of $1,032.20. Guy seconded the motion. The vote was unanimously in favor.

The Films on the AuSable fundraiser initiative by Bob and Sue Hockert was discussed. Guy is willing to assist them, and will talk to Randy Preston to see if the firehouse is also a possibility to use for the project, either as a primary site or a back-up.

Our website by Patrick McIntyre is in progress. Karen is working on obtaining a host and domain name.

The date of the Annual Meeting was discussed. Guy made a motion to hold the meeting on Wednesday, June 2, at 7:00 p.m. at the Town Hall Community Center. Jean Huntington seconded the motion. All voted in favor. Karen Peters will give a slide program presentation at the meeting, “Virtual History Walking Tour of Wilmington”, showing and discussing the history of many of the historic buildings of Wilmington.

A grant application to the Upstate History Alliance was discussed by Karen. It is in harmony with Joe Swinyer’s site evaluation and is the next step in planning for the Wilmington Historical Society. Karen will go forward with the application.

The Northern New York Library Network Roundtable will be attended by Merri Peck on Saturday, April 24. Merri is part of the presentation regarding the Wilmington Historical Society site evaluation by Joe Swinyer of the Documentary Heritage Program.

The statewide movement to eliminate the Sunset Clause regarding funding for local governments for historical records preservation was discussed. The Wilmington Historical Society is encouraging the Town of Wilmington, at its next meeting, to join other town and county governments in passing a resolution in favor of eliminating the Sunset Clause on this law. Karen has been passing along information regarding this resolution to the town Supervisor, Jeanne Ashworth.

Karen and Doug are asking for input regarding presentations for some of our meetings. Please forward any ideas to Karen or Doug.

Guy has agreed to do a program presentation on bee hunting for our July meeting. Historically, honey was popularly used as sweetener and therefore bee hunting was important to the local inhabitants of Wilmington. We look forward to his presentation.

Colin Loher, a local guide by profession, is working on a guide book for climbers and will be including historical aspects which he would like the Historical Society to verify and add to. In turn, he will have information for us on the climbing history as it relates to Wilmington. Doug and Guy agreed to assist Colin in his venture.

ACT Community Trust is presenting a fundraising seminar in Lake Placid on May 20. Doug Wolfe will look into attending the presentation for the Town of Wilmington.

Doug made a motion to adjourn the meeting. Guy seconded the motion. All in favor. The meeting was adjourned.

Respectfully submitted,

Steve Connor,
member Board of Trustees


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