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Wilmington Historical Society
Minutes of Meeting
Wednesday, September 3, 2014
Wilmington Community Center

Attendees

Merri C. Peck
Doug Wolfe
Susan Apelt
Richard Apelt
Guy Stephenson
Barbara Rothman
Donna Griffin
Bob Cressey
Nancy Cressey
Gilbert Dyke
Linda Joss-Dyke
Donna Fink
Jeffrey Fink
Alice Pelkey
Jeri Wright

Merri Peck called the meeting to order at 7:00PM and we began our discussion of the “Owaissa Club.” Guy Stephenson began the discussion with a brief description of the Owaissa Club. It was located on the site of the current town beach. Merri showed some slides of the club building and some of the club members at various activities. The Owaissa Club was established in 1920 in memory of Mildred Merrill as a safe recreation center for the young people of the area. Clara and Wilbur Merrill were prominent summer visitors who owned a camp in Wilmington. Clara was the sister of a well-known opera singer (Ida Gardner) and Wilbur was an engineer and inventor for General Electric. Their daughter Mildred was killed in a car accident in 1917. The Owaissa Club held numerous recreational activities such as dances, shows, sports and parties. The fee for membership was $2 annually. Merri also showed some newspaper articles about various club activities. The last article indicated that the property was sold in 1946 and it was used for some time by the Fish and Game Club.

At the close of the open discussion Merri opened the business meeting. We reviewed the minutes for meetings on July 2 and August 6. Guy moved to accept the August 6 minutes as read and his motion was seconded by Doug Wolfe. All voted in favor. Donna Griffin then offered a motion to accept the July 2 minutes as read and it was seconded by Linda Joss-Dyke. Again, all voted in favor.

Merri then called for the Treasurer’s report. Donna had previously made copies of her report available. Our balance as of the end of August was $10,456.63, including $5,000 in our Acorn account and $100 in petty cash. Guy moved to approve the report and Gil Dyke seconded. All voted in favor.

Merri reported on communications. We had notes from members Nancy McNabb and Tim Haselton. Karen sent a thank you to Hallie Bond for her program on “Boats and Boating in the Adirondacks” and a note to the New York Humanities Group who provided financial support for the “Boats and Boating” program. Karen also sent thank you notes to Sharpe Swan and Phil Jackson for the program, “Between This World and the Next.”

A book donated by Doug Wolfe, History Inside the Blue Line: Place Names of the Trans Adirondack Route, by Erik Schlimmer, was added to our collection. Karen assisted the Plattsburgh Press with an article on Reuben Sanford which is to be published soon. Guy handled some correspondence from Mike Kilburn who asked about Kilburn Mountain, its location and who it was named after. Someone else inquired about an 1831 birth record and there was an inquiry about African Americans in the Adirondacks. Guy said that he has a picture of an African American family that was taken somewhere in the Adirondacks. Jay O’Hern’s new book, Adirondack 102 Club is now out. Jeri Wright mentioned that it is an excellent book. Karen talked to Jeremy Davis about the Quaker Mountain rope tow for his book about ski areas and he will do a talk next year. There was also some research done on the Lawrence family and Karen addressed a question on the Wilderness Inn II.

Merri reported for the Library, Museum and Historic Sites Committee that our next open house will be on September 16th, from 6 to 9PM. Merri reported for the Publications and Programs Committee that Karen wrote an article for the town newsletter which came out in August. The Valley News reported on Civil Wars Veteran gravestones being restored. Ginny Crispell continues to do an outstanding job creating flyers for all our programs.

Nancy reported for the Membership and Nominations Committee that five memberships came in during the last month. Our membership now stands at a total of 163. Earlier in the month we sent out reminders to members who have not yet renewed for this year.

Guy reported that the Cemetery Committee met the previous evening. He had talked to Plattsburgh Memorials about giving us some estimates for repair of stones but they have not yet responded. Normally the $1,000 that the town budgets for the cemeteries is not carried over if it is not used during the fiscal year, but the committee will try to see if it can be carried over this time. Donna suggested they try to find out if they can encumber the funds by cutting a purchase order, even though the work may not be able to be completed during the year. Guy said progress is being made, but it is slow because it is a low priority for the town board.

The Building Committee met in the beginning of August. The plans were revised to cut the building size down to two modules in order to keep the cost down. We are looking to be in the $300,000 range for the building, site work and foundation. Guy said he requested bids from two contractors but neither one has responded yet.

We still have a good supply of Arcadia books on hand. High Falls Gorge is now selling the books. Linda reported on fundraising activity. We made a total of about $285 from selling the Great Escape tickets. Tina of T&T has requested more car stickers and Whiteface may start selling them. Linda requested a quote for car stickers from a different vendor as a result of talking to McKenzie LaBrake at Whiteface, but probably the setup fee will make it impractical to switch vendors. Linda also has requested a quote for printing a letter and return envelope for our Acorn Account. Linda then talked about the auction for the Festival of Colors. She and Gil are donating three themed baskets of items to be raffled off. One basket will be gardening items, a second is a barbecue basket and the third is a wine and cheese basket. She would like to create two more baskets, possibly an Adirondack themed basket and a car care items basket. Merri suggested she contact some of our volunteers to help put together these baskets, Donna will give her funds from petty cash to cover the cost of these two baskets.

Merri reported that Patrick McIntyre is in the process of redesigning our website home page to allow for membership renewals, book orders and donations through pay pal. We talked about incentives for donations, perhaps a donor wall. We need to consider the cost of providing incentives.

Guy Stephenson and Donna and Eddie Griffin have been taking photos of the Whiteface Highway construction. Our annual report went out in July. The Festival of Colors will be Saturday, September 13 from 10AM to 5PM. Doug will be there at 8AM for set up. Nancy and Bob will be there before opening and bring the Wilmington books as well as a supply of membership brochures and cards. Karen will not be present until noon because she is doing an oral interview in the morning. Donna will be available to sell books and Linda and Gil will be present to sell raffle tickets. Linda said she would like to price the tickets at $1 each or 8 for $5.

Merri discussed the Adirondack Forty-sixers request for us to participate in their 100 year celebration of the first three Forty-sixers to be held in 2018. Consensus was we would like to participate in some way. Doug suggested a poster display of history with an open house hopefully to be held in our new WHS building.

Doug mentioned that he transferred the Hinds Adirondack Life Magazine collection to Bob and Nancy Cressey to hold until such time as we have adequate display and storage space.

There will be a workshop on Policies and Procedure Essentiuals to be held September 23 from 9AM to 12PM at SUNY Plattsburgh. A Family Heritage Day will be held on Saturday October 11 from 10AM to 4:30PM at the Cultural Education Center in Empire State Plaza in Albany. This event will include a full day of programs and activities for all who are interested in exploring their personal family heritage. This event is free and open to the public.

Doug mentioned that our trailer needs to be cleaned out. The gattling gun is still in the trailer. The roof is still damaged but nothing is being done because we will not need the trailer once we have a building.

Our next meeting will be October 1st.

Guy made a motion to adjourn and it was seconded by Gil. The motion carried unanimously.

Respectfully Submitted,
Nancy Cressey
Secretary
Wilmington Historical Society

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