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Wilmington Historical Society
Minutes of Meeting
Wednesday, March 4, 2015
Wilmington Community Center


Karen Peters Merri C. Peck
Donna Griffin
Barbara Rothman
Bob Cressey
Nancy Cressey
Gil Dyke
Linda Joss-Dyke

Karen Peters called the meeting to order at 1 PM and we began our open discussion “Early Area Banking Practices.” In the early days of Wilmington there was no bank in the area. It was primarily a subsistence economy and the barter system was commonly used. Karen began the discussion by showing slides of the chattel mortgages. Chattel mortgages were used by people to borrow money or purchase goods. They would offer personal property as collateral for the loan. Some of the items commonly used as collateral included livestock of all varieties, wagons, household goods, farm and other work equipment, firewood and agricultural products including crops to be harvested in the future. There were large numbers of chattel mortgages during times of depression and recession. Merri passed around the Haselton ledger which showed how they kept running accounts for households in town. In the first part of the ledger barter transactions were prevalent. Stores did most of the banking for the majority of people. The Bank of Lake Placid opened in Wilmington in July 1977 and closed October 1994. The town was without a bank for 6 years until the opening in May 2000 of the Adirondack Regional Federal Credit Union. Currently the town is served by several ATMs.

At the close of the open discussion Karen called for the secretary’s report. Bob Cressey moved to accept the minutes as read and his motion was seconded by Donna Griffin. All voted in favor.

Karen announced that all the papers have been signed for our Adirondack Foundation account. It is no longer an Acorn Account. It is the Adirondack Foundation Fund for the Wilmington Historical Society and it is an interest bearing account. The WHS has five years from now to bring the account up to $25,000. Karen then brought up the 2015 budget which was approved at our last meeting. She reminded us that our Adirondack Foundation account is separate from our operating budget. Donna recommended we open a separate checking account for our Adirondack Foundation Fund. After a brief discussion we agreed that this would be a cleaner, more transparent way of keeping our Adirondack Fund account separate from our operating budget. Gil Dyke then made a motion to open a new account for our Adirondack Foundation fund with an opening amount of $100. Bob seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.

Donna then passed out copies of the treasurer’s report. We have $10,410.00 in our Adirondack Foundation fund, $4,827.30 in our bank account and $100 in petty cash. Bob moved to approve the treasurer’s report and Gil seconded the motion. All voted in favor.

Karen then pointed out that we had not yet voted to approve the audit committee report which was done in January. Gil made a motion to accept the report which was seconded by Bob. It carried unanimously.

Karen reported on communications. We received messages of thanks and encouragement for a job well done from a couple of our members. Karen sent a thank you letter and Deed of Gift to Ardyce Blohm for donating a photo of the Reverend James Cass, pastor of the Jay and Wilmington Churches, 1900-1903. We received thanks from the American Association for State and Local History for our 2015 membership. Karen sent a thank you to the Olympic Regional Development Authority for again allowing us to provide a free admission to Whiteface Highway with each membership. The National Endowment for Humanities announced a webinar about a preservation assistance grant. The Museum Association of New York sent a message to announce their annual conference to be held in Corning, New York, April 12-14, 2015. The theme this year is “Museums Mean Business.” Don Papson sent a message to inform us of the publication of his book, Secret Lives of the Underground in New York City: Sidney Howard Gay, Louis Napoleon, and the Record of Fugitives.

Guy Stephenson has been working on identifying people in old photos. There is a picture of some people standing in front of a snowplow that he is currently working on. We had two research days the past month. Someone was doing research for a group of students in Jay who are writing a play and the owners of the Birchtree Lodge were looking for historic photos to decorate their rooms. Karen interviewed Bill Grossman who owned both Ledgerock and Winklemans at different times. She also wants to interview Wendy Grossman. We had a request for information on the Rogers and Hickok families. We also had a request for the original name of Birchtree Lodge, which was Winklemans.

Merri Peck reported for the Library, Museum and Historical Sites Committee. She has been looking into subscribing to Ancestry.com at the library level. She found out that library level access is through Pro Quest and she is waiting to get price information from them. Karen mentioned that we should be using the WHS official email account for WHS business as opposed to personal email. She is working on doing more interviews for motel history. Merri is working on the LE Avery biography as transcribed by Greg Pedrick. Our next scheduled research hours will be March 17, 10AM to 1PM.

Karen reported for the Publications and Programs Committee. All our programs for the coming summer are scheduled. She has circulated the list of Open Discussions. Our May meeting has been changed to 1PM due to a scheduling conflict with the Community Center. Our meetings are now finally getting into the calendar in the Valley News. The town newsletter went out and Karen sent a letter to the Lake Placid schools to make them aware that the WHS is available for support of their projects and programs concerning history. Karen went to Marty Podskoch’s book signing in Plattsburgh on February 26th. The book is turning out to be very popular. Karen mentioned that we are giving our local summer speakers an honorarium of $50. We agreed that the honorarium for out of town speakers should be $100.

Our program schedule is as follows:

Saturday, May 16               Historical Iron Mine Tour            Guy Stephenson

Sunday, May 31               ADK 102 Club booksigning            Marty Podskoch

Friday, June 19                “Adirondack Outlaws: Bad Boys and Lawless Ladies”          Niki Kourofsky

Friday, July 17                 Ballads, Bunkhouses, Fiddles and Flings”          Dave Ruch

Friday, August 21               Lost Ski Areas of the Northern Adirondacks         Jeremy Davis

Saturday, September 12           Festival of Colors

Saturday, November 7            Genealogy Workshop             Bob and Karen Peters

Gil reported that we are again signed up for the Coasters for a Cause fundraising program with Great Escape. We are looking into participating in a different program they have which would allow us to sell tickets all summer. Liz Miskovsky has agreed to be on the fundraising committee. Guy and a number of other WHS members have taken many photos of the bridge project.

Donna presented several examples of stationery. We selected one and she will arrange to have the stationery printed and made available to the officers. She will also order preprinted stamped envelopes. We decided to complete our 2015 and long term plans on March 17 during our research hours.

Donna moved to adjourn and Bob seconded her motion. All voted in favor.

Respectfully Submitted,
Nancy Cressey
Wilmington Historical Society


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