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Wilmington Historical Society
Minutes of Meeting
7:00 PM, Wednesday, April 19, 2006
E. M. Cooper Library


Karen Peters
Nancy Cressey
Doug Wolfe
Bob Cressey
Bea Lawrence
Merri C. Peck
Guy Stephenson
Jane H. Peck
Randy Preston
Dana C. Peck
Steve Connor

Karen Peters called the meeting to order and called for the secretary’s report. Steve Connor made a motion to accept the minutes as read and it was seconded by Guy Stephenson. The motion carried unanimously.

Bob Cressey gave the treasurer’s report. Our bank balance is $4,117.50. In the past month we had deposits in the amount of $571.33, including $530 for memberships, $20 for the Iron Mine Tour and $21.33 for book sales. Our expenses were $124.45 for office supplies. Guy introduced a motion to accept the Treasurer’s report and it was seconded by Doug Wolfe. All voted in favor.

Karen then brought us up to date on communications received in the past month. We received a photo of an old grist mill building and contents for sale in Berks County, Pennsylvania. The mill machinery is from the same era as the Wilmington mill. Doug will try to obtain photos of the mill equipment.

We received an email from Forrest Manning with a request for information about his great uncle Peter Manning who died in 1931. Mr. Manning stated that he believed Peter Manning was buried in Haselton Cemetery but could not find him on the website. He asked if it was possible that Peter Manning had been omitted because there was no headstone. Nancy Cressey replied that the website only contains photos of those graves with headstones. Our database includes some names from town records that do not have headstones, but the records are probably not complete. Nancy will check the database to see if Peter Manning is listed.

Steve Connor informed us that he received an inquiry for information about William Gilbert Cooper and he has been researching the Methodist Church records. He said that the church records are in need of preservation and he mentioned that Bob Peters has agreed to start photographing some of them.

The Northern New York Library Network (NNYLN) is holding a Roundtable on May 6th at the Feinburg Library at SUNY Plattsburgh. The topic is “Planning, Organizing and Finding Space” and the discussion will be led by Joe Swinyer. Karen encouraged attendance by anyone who is able to go. NNYLN is also holding a workshop May 4th on Internet Access to Historical Records. We received a letter from Roberta White in which she explains some of the history of the Lewis farmhouse on Bilhuber Rd. The National Endowment for Humanities is offering grants for smaller organizations and the application deadline is May 15th. Karen suggested that while we are not ready at this time we should keep these grants in mind for the future. We also received notice of the American Association of State and Local History annual fund drive. Bob advised that he believed we paid our dues in December, but he will check on this.

Karen wrote a letter to Ruth Boyer (a former teacher) asking her for stories about Wilmington schools, but we have not yet received a reply.

We received the Region IV Newsletter from Dave Lowry.

Kara Page sent a request for the WHS to review the Historic Resources section of the draft inventory for the waterfront project. Karen forwarded the draft to all the trustees for review and she sent her comments back to Kara. Karen said Kara indicated that we may be able to use the history component of the project to obtain a grant for a building or building space for the WHS.

Merri reported for the Library, Museum, and Historic Sites Committee that she is still entering items into Past Perfect. Karen is doing Deed of Gift entries on her computer which will facilitate adding these to Past Perfect. Karen mentioned that she intends to put our collection management policy on our website. We want potential donors to be aware that items donated to the WHS will always remain in the public domain and will never become part of any private collection even if the WHS should cease to exist.

Karen reported for the Publications and Programs Committee that she and Doug have been working on creating a walking tour of the town. Karen, Doug, Bob and Nancy walked along the proposed route and Karen recorded and created a CD of the discussion about various historical sites during that walk. Karen suggested that we create a brochure in black and white initially, and once we get it finalized we can get a grant to produce one in color. She said that we are also planning to create a biking/driving tour to take in points of interest which are farther from the center of town.

Karen advised that Anna Court has interviewed several of the trustees about the Wilmington Historical Society for her newspaper column. Notice of tonight’s meeting was published in the Saranac Lake and Lake Placid newspapers. Karen mentioned that Richard Loveland is giving a talk in Westport about the Battle of Plattsburgh and what the consequences might have been had the British been successful. She suggested that we should consider him as a potential speaker for one of our programs. Doug said he would like to try to get someone to speak about the history of surveying as it relates to our area.

Karen said that publicity about the Iron Mine Tour has gone out. She also said that she plans to post notices of our complete program schedule in several key spots.

Nancy reported for the Membership and Nominations Committee that we have not been receiving many memberships recently. Karen will send out a reminder. Nominations for President, Vice-President, Treasurer, Secretary and one Trustee position were opened. Guy made a motion to nominate the current slate of officers and Steve seconded it. All voted in favor.

Karen reported for the Whiteface Visitor’s Bureau that they will be putting up new banners in town. Doug said that he had spoken to Bert Yost and he is still interested in creating the birding map and a tour for birders.

Guy reported for the Ausable Sustainable Communities waterfront project that he wrote a brief history of activities on the river for inclusion in the report.

Karen advised that our webmaster Patrick McIntyre has fixed the broken link to NNLYN on our website.

Merri reminded us that Volume 8 of the Wilmington Resource Guides, the book of doctor’s records is available for purchase now.

Karen gave out copies of our planning document. She revised it to chronological sequence so we can more easily see what we have planned for each year. Guy offered a motion to accept the action plan as is and it was seconded by Steve. The motion carried unanimously.

At this time Karen opened the discussion for tonight’s topic, “Wilmington Schools”. We heard quite a few interesting stories, particularly from Bea Lawrence and Jane and Dana Peck. Guy Stephenson offered some more recent school history. There were also many photos and newspaper articles to look at as well as two hand bells used in the schools and some old school records. The session was recorded on our digital voice recorder.

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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