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Wilmington Historical Society
Minutes of Meeting
7:00 PM, Wednesday, August 16, 2006
E. M. Cooper Library

Attendees:

Karen Peters
Steve Connor
Doug Wolfe
Pete Yuro
Ford Balch
Lena Balch

Since there was no quorum of trustees at this meeting due to vacations and illness, this was an “unofficial” and informational historical society meeting with no votes cast. The secretary’s report was not voted upon, nor was there a treasurer’s report.

Karen discussed communications for the past month. The WHS sent thank you notes to Lee Manchester, Prof. Harold Hinds and Tina Didreckson for their program presentations, as well as to Ginny Crispell and Anna Court for their contributions to refreshments for the events. Another thank-you note was sent to Claire Mader for her photo contributions. We received a letter from Kent Maynard who complimented the WHS on the work we are doing and commented on how much he enjoyed July’s “Open Discussion” about “Wilmington’s military participation”. We received an email from the outgoing NYS Archives Region 4 Advisory Officer, Dave Lowry, announcing his position change, and another announcing his replacement, Denis Meadows. We also received an email from the new director of the Lake Placid-North Elba Historical Society, Jennifer VanBenschoten, expressing her desire to cooperate & collaborate with us in ways that are beneficial to both historical societies. Doug reported on changes which already took place at the LP-NE Historical Society under Jennifer’s direction, including a theme-based main display at their current building.

Karen reported for the Library, Museum and Historic Sites Committee that Bob Peters has digitally copied the Whiteface Community United Methodist Churches records which are dated from 1836. There are 6 books in all. We will make CD copies for the church, the historical society, and the E.M. Cooper Memorial Library. Doug has recently been doing some genealogical work at the Town Hall and suggested that we take a look at digitally copying the town’s marriage records, also.

Karen reported for the Publications and Programs Committee that press releases and posters went out for both the “Editing Mary MacKenzie” event by Lee Manchester (Aug. 4) and the “Yankee Ingenuity & Genealogy” event by Prof. Harold Hinds and Tina Didreckson (Aug.5). The press releases resulted in several articles in the Lake Placid News and Valley News as well as Community Calendar announcements. Karen announced that we now also send public service announcements regarding our events to Mountain Communications which airs them on the radio. The WHS guest book registers and comments for both events were favorable. Doug mentioned the possibility of obtaining Chris Breschia from the ADK Railroad for a slide presentation. He will check into it further. As far as the Historical Walking Tour goes, Karen went on a 5 ½ hour “Tour of the Town” at the request of the Waterfront Revitalization Committee, and with the assistance of Jesse Catalano, to get the GPS locations for the historical sites of the town in preparation for the creation of self-guided tour maps.

For the Membership and Nominations Committee, Nancy Cressey sent an updated Excel file on our membership. We currently have 136 members for 2006.

While Karen has been unable to attend either of the last two Visitor’s Bureau meetings, Doug has been contacted by the VB to provide a “Find the Historical Monument” Tour/ Hunt of Wilmington. They would like a map and photos. Doug will work on this further.

From the Waterfront Revitalization Project, Doug reported that Kara Page would like more photos of the AuSable River in Wilmington. If any of our members have any, especially of the 19th century and early 20th century, the WHS would be grateful to be able to copy them, for this purpose, as well as to preserve them for the purposes of the WHS.

From Steve Connor, the Methodist Church is interested in obtaining some archive safe boxes for their old church records. He will look into having the Church Trustees let the WHS obtain the appropriate boxes for which they may reimburse us.

From the Wilmington Books Project, Merri Peck informed us that Prof. Harold Hinds and Tina Didreckson have been working on copying more 19th century serial records material such as the Congregational Church Records. They were in the area for more than a week obtaining more material for their “Wilmington Books” series. Merri Peck has copies for sale of all of the “Wilmington Books” published so far, if anyone is interested in purchasing them.

Steve reported that nothing has been done yet on the Malbone Cemetery Project.

Karen announced that the Town of Wilmington, with the help of the Wilmington Historical Society, has received the LGRMIF grant from New York State, for conservation of the original Old Town Record Book. The Town has already received part of the funds, and Merri Peck assisted by actually transporting the book to the conservator in Vermont. It should be returning in about a month. Karen sent out a press release regarding the Town’s Grant.

Karen reported that the WHS’s booths for the Festival of the Colors on Sept. 16 are all set. Sid Ward will once again be setting up a separate tent to sell his cutting boards made from re-cycled woods, all proceeds to benefit the WHS. At our own WHS booth, we are fortunate to once again have antiques appraiser, Julia Robinson of Upper Jay, to do an “Antiques Roadshow” style appraisal for those bringing in antiques to appraise, at $2.00 each item, all proceeds to benefit the WHS. Julia, also a folksinger, will be playing her guitar and singing in between appraisals. Julia will be there from 10am – 1 pm. In addition, the WHS will have its own displays of “Wilmington Then and Now”, “Wilmington Dam Construction”, a computer photo slide show of “The Early Years of Santa’s Workshop”. Doug Wolfe and Peter Yuro volunteered to make arrangements to use Steve Connor’s tent to “house” our displays and will be in charge of set up and take-down on Sept 16. Pete Yuro has also agreed to “watch over” our displays and see that people sign the guestbook on the day of the Festival.

For our WHS Archival Space in the Town Hall, Doug Wolfe reported that he was able to obtain a used cabinet in good condition. Doug has had 3 keys made for the lockable cabinet, It is all ready to be put in place. He and Bob Peters will install the cabinet. Then our files will be transferred from the file cabinets in Merri Peck’s house to archive safe file boxes, which in turn, will be placed in the cabinet in the Town Hall. When we are ready, we will begin providing access hours at the Town Hall for public research of our records.

Karen announced that Archive Week will be coming up in October. What do we want to do? We need ideas. Doug suggested that we still continue with our “Old Photo Day”. Shall we do or add something else? Another speaker? Display?

The Northern New York Library Network is providing courses in a 3 part series, “North Country Preservation”. They take place in Potsdam from 9 am -3:30 pm. On Sept. 7, Sept. 25, and Oct. 25. Any member or trustee interested, please contact Karen.

Waterfront Day, sponsored by the Waterfront Revitalization Committee of the AuSable Sustainable Communities Project, will be on August 31st, events going on throughout the day, at both Heritage Park and the Town Beach. From 9 am – 1 pm at Heritage Park, the WHS is providing photo displays of the Wilmington Dam construction and “Wilmington Then and Now”, as well as providing 1876 maps of the historic center of Wilmington. Doug Wolfe and Pete Yuro will set up and oversee the WHS displays.

At this time Karen opened the discussion for tonight’s topic, “History of Tourism in Wilmington”. Pete Yuro brought photos, old brochures and postcards, some of them not often seen. Others brought newspaper articles from the archives of the NNYLN link on the WHS website, regarding such places as the Whiteface Mountain House, the Bliss House, the Mystery Spot, and much more. The session was recorded on our digital voice recorder for future researchers. Next open discussion topic on Sept. 20 is “Churches/religion in Wilmington”.

Steve made a motion to adjourn the meeting and it was seconded by Doug. All voted in favor.

Respectfully submitted,

Karen Peters, President
(in the absence of our Secretary)

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