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Wilmington Historical Society
Minutes of Meeting
Wednesday, April 2, 2014
Wilmington Community Center


Donna Griffin
Merri Peck
Barbara Rothman
Karen Peters
Gilbert Dyke
Guy Stephenson
Linda Joss-Dyke

Karen Peters called the meeting to order at 7:05 PM and began our open discussion: “Celebrity Visitors to Wilmington.” Karen started with pictures of Jeanie Ashworth in Squaw Valley receiving her Olympic medal from then Senator John F. Kennedy. Jeanie was a speed skater winning several Olympic medals, a lifeguard at the town beach, and was also a swimming instructor. She worked in the family business at the North Pole Candy Shop. Jeanie also served Wilmington as Town Supervisor. Next Karen presented pictures of Fran Betters and talked about his national recognition as a fly fisherman, his induction into the Fly Fishing Hall of Fame, his story telling, and his creation of new flies,(such as the “AuSable Wulff.”) Fran also ran a successful business and authored books on fly fishing. Another celebrity visitor to Wilmington was Franklin D. Roosevelt first as state Governor to break ground and later as President to dedicate the Whiteface Memorial Highway in the 1930’s.We saw other pictures and heard stories about the visits of Gov. Averill Harriman, Gov. George Pataki, Sen. Betty Little, and President George W. Bush. Another story dealt with Ida Gardiner, a famous opera singer, who promoted Edison records. She and husband Louis Edward Underwood, build a camp on the AuSable River in 1915 and called it “Camp Bluebird.” Ida’s parents built one of the first camps in town in 1911 called “Hunky Dori.” ”Brown Meadows” camp was built for Martha Brown. Clara Merrill was the founder of the “Owaissa Club” on Lake Everest. Artist and photographer, Slayton Underhill, built the camp on the river that now belongs to Steve and Wendy Hall. After talking about the builders of the first camps in Wilmington by successful business men and women, Karen played a recording written and sung by Ida Gardiner, entitled “Sweet Genevieve.” Other visitors to Wilmington were Kate Smith who often visited the North Pole. Members of the Kennedy Family after the assassination, including Senator Robert, Jackie and Caroline were seen skiing at Whiteface. The list also included Olympians and World Cup Skiers Ingemar Stenmark, Phil Mahre, 1980, and Walter Prager, first world cup champion in Switzerland in 1931. Prager also taught skiing at Whiteface, trained the 10th Mountain Division, and operated a ski shop in Wilmington.

Karen began the regular business at 8:15 PM. The secretary’s report of February 5, 2014, was distributed. Gil Dyke moved to accept the minutes Merri Peck seconded. Motion passed. Then the minutes from March 5, 2014 were distributed. Guy Stephenson made a motion to accept, Donna Griffin seconded. Motion passed. Karen read the “April 1st” treasurer’s report. After a good laugh (April Fools’ joke by our treasurer!) the real treasurer’s report was distributed. The report included membership dues of $130.00, $165.00, $55.00, $80, 00, and $95.00, and a total of 34 new members. Book royalties totaled $628.18. Expenses for office supplies totaled $ 133.88. Final balance as of 3/31/14 is $5921.73. The annual 990 form will be filed by May 15, 2014. Donna reported on her “Pay-Pal” research. Merri Peck made a motion to incorporate “Pay-Pal” into our financial business. Gil Dyke seconded. Motion carried. Guy Stephenson made a motion to accept the treasurer’s report. Merri Peck seconded. Motion carried.

Communications: Karen reported a thank-you note from Plattsburgh Housing for attending their house planning presentation. Karen sent a thank-you note to Russ Mulvey for his meeting with the building committee. A thank-you was sent to Bridgette Levitt for her work researching property values for the building committee.

Acquisitions and research: Research for this month included a request for photos of Marble Mountain by Pete Nelson. He is using the photo in a book “Lost Brook Dispatches.” Credit will be given to WHS for providing the photos from the collection. John Barry is to be credited as the photographer. Mr. Nelson will be responsible for researching copyrights on postcards from the collection. Guy Stephenson suggested that we request a copy of any article, book, or other publication published using our collection materials. There was a request from the Visitor’s Bureau for a picture of Guy Stephenson to accompany the article about Citizen of The Year. Karen provided photos for Jay O’Hern’s cookbook and relayed he is responsible for securing any needed copyrights. Merri Peck reported she worked with Jaquish family on their history and connection to the area. Merri showed them the archives and they were impressed. Merri reported the local family was not related to the visiting family members. Merri also did some identification work on Driscoll family photos. Tuesday April 15th will be the next research evening, 6 to 9 PM. The May research date will be changed from Tuesday, May 20th to Wednesday, May 21st, 2014.

Publications and Programs: Karen reported the list of 2014 Open Discussions has been distributed, the Wilmington winter newsletter article is done and the final list of Programs will be published soon. The dates and programs planned are as follows: Friday, May 3rd, 2014: “Mine Tour” with Guy Stephenson beginning at 9am. Registration required and number of participants is limited. The walking tour will cost $20.00, $15.00 will benefit WHS.

Friday, June 27th, 2014: “North Country Ghost Stories, by Gordy Little. Program begins at 7:00 PM in the Community Center. Free. All are welcome.
Friday, July 11th, 2014: “Boats and Boating in the Adirondacks” presented by author Hallie E. Bird. 7:00PM in the Community Center. Free and open to the public, this program is made possible through the support of the New York Council for the Humanities’ Speakers in the Humanities program.
Wednesday, July 30th, 2014: “Between this World and the Next: the 118th Adirondack Regiment” Discussion and slides by Sharpe Swan. 7:00PM, at the Community Center.
Friday, August 15th, 2014: “Historic Adirondack Films” with speaker James Griebsch, media specialist. 7:00PM, at the Community Center. Films now on DVD are from the Saranac Lake Historical Collection.
Saturday, September 13th, 2014: “Festival of Colors” town ball field, all day. Our Theme: “History of Tourism in Wilmington.” October program: to be announced.
Karen asked for ideas on a program for the 2014/2015 school year

Special Committees: Whiteface Visitors Bureau will work on web site and Facebook updates. Like them on Facebook.
Wilmington Cemetery Committee: Guy Stephenson reported on activities planned by the cemetery committee. An update of veterans needs to be done (looking for volunteers to help). They are prioritizing headstone repairs to be done.
The building committee will meet on Monday or Tuesday of next week with Plattsburgh Housing.

Old Business: Arcadia Books: Arcadia Books has published a book on Saranac Lake. High Falls Gorge will carry our book. We will receive royalties in March and September.
Mountain Lake Journal: A program about a Jay man and his connection to High Peaks Hospice was broadcast by PBS. The WHS provided a few photos for the project. Karen and Bob Peters, Guy Stephenson, and Jeri Wright represented the WHS at the special showing in February at the Ward Theater in Jay.
Donna Griffin and Linda Joss-Dyke will meet and draft a letter soliciting contributions to our Adirondack Foundation Acorn Account.

New Business: Maria McCashin is the new interim Region4 advisory officer. Dennis has moved the State Archive in Albany.
Linda Joss-Dyke will chair the annual fundraiser, “Coasters for a Cause.” Tickets for Great Escape cost $25.00 each and can be purchased at T & T Tanning, The Village Hardware, and the Visitor’s Bureau. Tickets may be used on days of operation May 23rd thru June 22rd.
Whiteface Mountain car stickers are also on sale at stores in town.
Donna Griffin moved to adjourn the meeting. Guy Stephenson seconded, motion passing. The meeting was adjourned at 9:50PM

Respectfully submitted,
Linda Joss-Dyke,
Acting Secretary


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