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Wilmington Historical Society
Minutes of Meeting
7:00 PM, Wednesday, May 7, 2008
Wilmington Community Center


Karen Peters
Pete Yuro
Guy Stephenson
Colleen Mulvey
Barbara Mulvey
Tara Marie Twomey-Mulvey Doug Wolfe
George Warren
Bob Cressey

Nancy Cressey Merri Peck Karen Peters called the meeting to order at 7:05 and we held our open discussion on the “History of Lumbering & Sawmills in Wilmington”. Upon the conclusion of the open discussion Karen called for the secretary’s report. Guy Stephenson made a motion to accept the April minutes as read and it was seconded by Pete Yuro. The motion carried unanimously.

Bob Cressey gave the treasurer’s report. He reported that our bank balance is $2,171.42. We had income for the month of $240 including $160 from memberships, $40 from VRS ticket sales and $40 from the Iron Mine Tour. Our expenses of $682.95 included $135 for copies, $19.95 for a rubber stamp and $528 for insurance. Bob reported that we received the Quick Books program from Tech Soup and it has been downloaded and registered. Bob said he plans to enter data into the program starting from the beginning of 2008. It will take some time for him to learn how to use the software, set up the accounts and get all the data entered. Karen asked that Bob send her the license number, validation code and password for the program. She also asked him to find out if we can legally put the program on another computer for backup purposes. Pete moved to accept the Treasurer’s report and it was seconded by Guy. The motion passed unanimously.

Guy reported on the Iron Mine tour which took place on May 3rd. There were four people on the hike. There was a lot of interest but there were several cancellations and one person is due a refund of $20. One other person has not yet paid and we will try to get a check from her. Pete made a motion proposing that we give Guy an honorarium of 50% of the amount of money received, or $37.50. Merri seconded the motion and all voted in favor.

Karen mentioned that the custom boxes we ordered for archival storage cost $40 each and we will be receiving a bill for $200.75 sometime after May 22nd. These boxes replace some that we had to return because they were slightly larger than advertised and did not fit in the cabinets.

Karen reported on communications. Judy Shea called Karen about the Iron Mine tour and also mentioned that the information signs that were on the Whiteface Highway are no longer there. Doug Wolfe said they had been taken down to be redone and they have now been put back in place. Since last month three prominent area citizens, Viola Hathaway, Myrtle M. Gowan and Henry McGrath passed away. Myrtle Gowan was instrumental in helping to get the Wilmington Historical Society started. Karen sent a sympathy card to the family on behalf of the WHS. Henry McGrath lived in the house across from the Methodist church which is known to be the oldest house in Wilmington. Mr. McGrath was a person of many accomplishments, including a patent on the process for converting coal into oil.

Karen reported that we had an email from Laura Dreissigacker Hooker offering photos of Wilmington for use on our website. Karen thanked her, but declined her offer because the photos are current and of artistic rather than historical interest.

Karen passed around a number of the regular newsletters received during the month. She also mentioned that Northern New York Library Network is offering a workshop entitled “Disaster Manual: Plan and Create.”

Karen then reported on acquisitions for the past month. Jeri Wright donated a souvenir from the Flaming Leaves Antique Auto Rally. Linda Gowan Carver donated two boxes of 3X5 cards containing headstone data for cemeteries in Franklin and Essex Counties. She also donated a number of nicely framed photos of Wilmington people. These items were from Myrtle Gowan’s estate and will be catalogued as the Myrtle M. Gowan collection.

Randy Preston asked for information on the Wilmington bridge. The goal is restoration of the bridge with as much historical accuracy as possible. Karen was able to provide some relevant photos but she was not able to tell him whether the bridge is listed on the register of national historic places. Randy later informed Karen that he found that the bridge is indeed on the register of historic places and has been since 1999. We also had a research inquiry from Jean Saunders. Karen was able to provide her with information she requested about her father.

Merri Peck reported for the Library, Museum and Historic Sites Committee that progress on Past Perfect is slow but continuing. Merri and Karen have put a lot of work into boxing, organizing and indexing our collections in the cabinets which will make it much easier to locate items. Karen passed out copies of our WHS Reference Policy which governs researchers and those serving as volunteer archivists during scheduled and appointment research hours. WHS will provide informal training to all volunteer archivists prior to their scheduled hours. Karen passed around a sign-up sheet to schedule volunteers for our upcoming summer research hours which will be held on Saturdays from 10AM to 2PM. Karen also passed out copies of the WHS copying fees schedule. Guy made a motion to add a minimum charge of $2 to the fee schedule and it was seconded by Bob. The motion carried unanimously. Karen mentioned that Lora Bushy is doing a story about some wooden pipes that she and Bob Peters rescued and preserved when they were torn up during work on Hardy Road.

Karen reported for the Publications and Programs Committee. There has been no work on developing the history tour in the past month. The Iron Mine Tour was successful and there is continuing interest to support future tours. Karen mentioned that we generated lots of publicity about the Iron Mine Tour over the past month. She also reported that she participated in the Read-Aloud program in the Lake Placid schools. She read excerpts from a historical newspaper article about Reuben Sanford to eighth grade students. She also spoke to someone from the school’s social studies department to make them aware of the resources that the WHS has to offer students for historical research and projects. Karen said she has been in contact with Jay Mele who will be presenting the Program “Horse Talk: Then & Now” 7PM June 6th at the Community Center. Karen has been gathering photos and information on horses and is working on the slide presentation that will accompany the talk. Karen will not be present on June 6 for the program, so Merri will operate the computer for the slide show and Nancy Cressey will be in charge of setting up the refreshments. Doug agreed to set up the screen.

The Santa’s Workshop program for July 11 is now set. There will be a dinner served again and the program will run exactly as it did the two previous years. Karen said that Bob Reiss told her that Jane McIntosh, who is associated with Adirondack Architectural Heritage (AARCH) has expressed interest in the drawings that Arto Monaco did for Santa’s Workshop. Mr. Reiss would like us to give the first slide presentation which contained all those drawings for AARCH. The program to be given by Joe Hackett is now set for Friday, August 22 and the title has been shortened to “Fish Tales & Famous Guides”.

Doug mentioned that there is a song about the history of the cannon and how it passed back and forth between Wilmington and Black Brook. He suggested that we cooperate with Black Brook and create a presentation with the song.

Nancy reported for the Membership and Nominations committee that she plans to do a reminder letter to send out to former members who have not yet renewed. The letter will go out sometime during May and will be sent via email to those who have provided us with their email addresses. Nominations were opened for positions up for election this year, which include the trustee position held by Guy Stephenson, president. vice-president and secretary. The incumbents were nominated and nominations will remain open until voting is held at the annual meeting.

Karen reported for the Visitor’s Bureau. George Warren has agreed to videotape the Two-Fly Banquet Speaker. The speaker will also be professionally videotaped by High Peaks Media. Doug raised the concern as to whether High Peaks Media has exclusive rights for the event. Karen will check on this issue. Karen mentioned that the Visitor’s Bureau is selling its own brand of locally roasted coffee now.

The Wilmington Community Enhancement Committee (WCEC) has not met since our last meeting. Karen emailed the chairman about making sure that the new community center will include display space (indoor or outdoor) for the cannon and Gattling gun. The guns are the property of the town, not WHS, but they are important to the history of Wilmington and should be properly preserved and displayed. Karen stated that she would like someone else from the WHS in addition to herself to attend the WCEC meetings and represent our interests since she is not always available. Herb Crispell sent Karen a copy of a newspaper article entitled “Area Communities Get Shared Services Grants”, the point being that the state now looks favorably at multiple use building projects as a cost savings.

As of May 1 the WHS is covered for liability and inland marine insurance (which covers our cabinets and laptop computer) with Peerless Insurance Company through the Gordon Pratt Agency. The total premium for the year of $528.00 has been paid.

Patrick McIntyre is adding postcard pictures to our website.

There are several new books in the Wilmington series available. Karen will order five copies of each new book.

The response to Professor Hinds’ Letter of Intent (LOI) went out. We accepted all the conditions Professor Hinds set forth in his LOI as requirements for the WHS to receive his Wilmington Library.

We received $40 during the past month for sale of Virtual Reality tickets.

No action was taken on the Honeybee Grant application.

There has been no news yet in regard to the WHS application with New York State for a permanent charter.

We decided that the WHS will not participate in the Essex County Fair Old Fashioned Harvest exhibit.

Karen brought up the question of whether we should have a December meeting, since we now meet on the first Wednesday of each month and it would not be so close before Christmas. We decided to postpone our decision.

Karen reported that she and Bob Peters visited Mountain Lake Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) and talked to the Director of Production and Programming Colin Powers about the possibility of Mountain Lake PBS doing a documentary on Fran Betters. Mr. Powers is enthusiastic about the idea and suggested that Derek Muirden might be the person to interview Fran Betters. Karen also talked to Mr. Powers about the possibility of the WHS acting as a secondary repository for any documentaries about the Wilmington area. He responded positively to this idea as well.

The 175th anniversary of the Wilmington (Whiteface) Community United Methodist Church is coming up in 2009. WHS may be asked to help with the celebration of this milestone. The church has also made a preliminary inquiry as to whether the WHS would be willing to serve as a secondary repository for the church historical records.

This Saturday there will be a Clinton Essex Documentary Heritage Roundtable in Chazy on “Interpretive Use of Collections”.

The Festival of Colors will be held September 13 and Sid Ward has agreed to sell his cutting boards for the WHS again.

Pete moved to adjourn the meeting, Bob seconded the motion and all voted in favor.

Respectfully submitted,
Nancy Cressey


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