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Wilmington Historical Society
Minutes of Planning Meeting
7:00 PM, Wednesday, March 15, 2006
E. M. Cooper Library


Merri Peck
Steve Connor
Doug Wolfe
Randy Preston
Guy Stephenson
Nancy Cressey
Bob Cressey

Merri Peck called the meeting to order. She mentioned that there were two names that were omitted from the cemetery sign and gave the information to Nancy Cressey to have it corrected. She then called for the secretary’s report. Guy Stephenson made a motion to accept the minutes as read and it was seconded by Bob Cressey. The motion carried unanimously.

Bob gave the treasurer’s report. Our bank balance is $3,672.17. In the past month we had deposits in the amount of $700 from memberships, $25 from the VRS coupon fundraiser and $27.16 from book sales. Our expenses were $75.49 for purchase of the digital voice recorder and $39 for postage. Steve Connor introduced a motion to accept the Treasurer’s report and it was seconded by Guy. All voted in favor.

Merri then summarized the communications received in the past month and passed them around the table for our review. She reminded us that there will be Past Perfect training given March 28-30 in Woodstock, Vermont, if anyone is interested in attending. There will be a Clinton Essex Roundtable on May 6 from 9:30 to 12:30 at the Feinberg Collections in SUNY Plattsburgh. The topic will be Planning, Organizing and Finding Space. Those interested in attending need to register with Margaret Gibbs. Other communications concerned grants from the American Association of State and Local History and upcoming regulation changes by the NY State Department of Education, the agency which granted our charter. The Hudson – Fulton – Champlain Quadricentennial Commemoration will be taking place in 2009. We received a questionnaire concerning whether we would like to participate. We also received a letter from Roberta White with an old photo of a house on Bilhuber Road. Mrs. White identified one of the individuals in the photo as Jane Forbes Lewis and said she believed that Jane Lewis was a librarian in the first library in Wilmington. Karen Peters replied to Mrs. White and told her she would do some research and try to find confirmation that Jane Lewis was indeed a librarian in Wilmington. Essex County Museum sent us several historic photos as well.

Merri reported for the Library, Museum, and Historic Sites Committee that Bob Peters finished photographing a large number of old documents and photos. In order for Merri to enter these items in Past Perfect she needs to be able to install some software which is on a floppy disk. The new computer does not have a floppy disk drive. Nancy Cressey agreed to loan an external floppy disk drive to Merri so this can be completed.

Doug Wolfe reported for the Publications and Programs Committee. He mentioned that Lee Manchester is doing his presentation “Edting Mary MacKenzie” in Lake Placid tonight. This is the presentation that he will be doing for us on Friday, August 4th. Doug also mentioned that Chris Breschi gave an interesting presentation of area railroad history in Lake Placid and he would be willing to give the presentation in Wilmington also. As of now we have the following programs scheduled for the upcoming year:

Saturday, May 6 --- 9 am. “Stephenson Range Iron Mine Tour” by Guy Stephenson. This will be a 4 mile, 5 hour guided hike on the Stephenson Range. Cost is $15.00 for WHS members and $20.00 for non-members. Pre-registration required.

Saturday, June 17--- 10 am -12 noon. “Scrapbooking Your Family Photos” by Susan Conway at the Wilmington Community Center. She will be demonstrating and teaching how to preserve your family photos in creative ways.

Friday, July 7--- 6pm. “The History of Santa’s Workshop—the Early Years” by Robert Reiss at Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard in Santa’s Workshop on Whiteface Highway. Dinner at 6 pm. will be followed by Mr. Reiss’s presentation at 7 pm. A buffet dinner will be provided by Mr. Reiss with donations of $7.00 for adults and seniors and $3.00 for children requested at the door to benefit the WHS. Reservations are required since room is limited.

Friday, August 4--- 7 pm. “Editing Mary MacKenzie” by Lee Manchester at the Wilmington Volunteer Fire Hall. Lee is the editor of the soon-to-be released collected historical writings of Mary MacKenzie, long-time historian for North Elba and the Lake Placid Village.

Saturday, September 16--- Wilmington’s 2006 Festival of the Colors. WHS will have new historical displays.

Guy mentioned that Natalie LaDuke is preparing a presentation on ski areas of the Adirondacks. This might be an interesting addition to our program lineup.

Guy said there was nothing new to report on the waterfront project. They are still looking for stories of past activities on the river and other information related to the river.

We briefly discussed the planning document which was generated at the last meeting. Merri read comments received from Jeanne Ashworth regarding the 1982 proposed historic district and the walking tour of Wilmington. Nancy advised that these comments have already been incorporated into the planning document and provided Merri with a copy of the latest revision. We need to continue to solicit comments and ideas to incorporate into this document.

Merri then asked us to start to create a list of discussion topics for future meetings under the new agenda format. Following is the list of topics that we came up with:

Buildings Historic buildings around Wilmington. Doug suggested the 1922 boom in bungalows and the two sawmills, Haselton and Everest.

Family History

Fire Department History Randy Preston mentioned that department records only go back as far as the forties and he does not know when the department was formed. It was suggested that town records and old newspaper articles may be a source for more information.

Military History


Education/schools Guy suggested that we invite someone who attended the Haselton School to talk.


Whiskey Making


Underground Railroad




Antique Automobiles

Post Office History

“Before and After”

It was also suggested that we could invite some of our older citizens who have knowledge of Wilmington’s history to come and share their memories and experiences.

We decided that the discussion topics for our next three meetings will be Old Schools on April 19, Fishing on May 17 and Antique Autos on June 21. Randy suggested that it would be a good idea to get these topics listed in the next edition of the town newsletter if it is not too late. Merri will check to see if we can do it.

Doug told us that Bert Yost of the visitor center is still interested in preparing a birding map of Wilmington. Doug said Mike Brennan at the VIC is an expert on birds of prey. Bob and Nancy Cressey added that Brian McAllister at the VIC is also an expert on birds and a good information source for this project.

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

Respectfully submitted,
Nancy Cressey


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