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Wilmington Historical Society
Minutes of Meeting
Wednesday, May 7, 2014
Wilmington Community Center


Karen Peters
Guy Stephenson
Doug Wolfe
Bob Cressey
Nancy Cressey

Karen Peters called the meeting to order at 7:00PM and we began our discussion of the “History of Whiteface Highway.” Karen showed some slides including pre-highway historic photos, highway construction and views of the highway and summit area post completion. She also showed us a copy of the program for re-dedication of the highway on September 14, 1985 and a November 20, 2013 Valley News article, “Whiteface Highway Gets Funding.” Doug Wolfe talked about and displayed a newspaper article from April 14, 1917 about the initial planning for a motor road up Whiteface. He also spoke about how the planning evolved with legislative approvals coming during Al Smith’s governorship, but no funding was approved until Franklin D. Roosevelt was governor.

Since a quorum was not present for this meeting, no votes were held. However we did review the Secretary’s report and the Treasurer’s report. Our bank account balance as of April 30th was $5,210.92. Karen noted that we paid our insurance bill of $941. This was an increase over last year. Both reports will be voted on at the next meeting.

Karen then reviewed the Communications for the past month. We received the Adirondack Foundation Spring News. Arron Kellett, general manager of Whiteface Mountain sent an email thanking those involved with the Whiteface Mountain exhibit at the Wild Center. The exhibit received an Award of Merit from the Museum Association of New York (MANY). Doug Wolfe was part of this project. Karen sent a thank you note to Guy Stephenson for the Iron Mine Tour he led on May 3rd. We received notice from MANY that they have appointed Devin Lander as their new executive director, effective June 2, 2014.

Acquisitions for this month included photos of Santa’s Workshop from the Marshall family and the Dedication Flyer from the 1985 rededication of Whiteface Highway from the Peters.

There were many research requests during the past month. Chris Sobek, Project Director of the Cultural Resource Survey Program is working on the Wilmington Bridge Interpretive sign. Karen provided him with a disk of information about the history of the Ausable River, the bridge and Wilmington. Karen did genealogical research on Luke and Sarissa Smith and she also provided a 300 word narrative about Wilmington to Marty Podskoch who will use it in his upcoming book, Adirondack 102 Club. Priscilla Partridge is also doing a book and needed photos. Karen provided one photo and directed her to the Saranac Lake Library for permission to use a Seneca Ray Stoddard photo from their collection. Karen also worked with Guy Stephenson to transcribe letters from Ralza C. Lawrence. Guy also obtained some film and Bob Peters is working on copying the portions relevant to Wilmington. Karen also researched the Hickok family.

Our next research night is Wednesday May 21st. Karen will be unable to attend. She will check to see if Merri Peck will be able to preside.

Karen reported for the Publications and Programs Committee. One of our speakers for this year, Hallie Bond, who will talk on “Boats and Boating in the Adirondacks,” has been approved for the Speakers in the Humanities program. This means that the New York Council for the Humanities will pay an honorarium of $300 plus lodging cost for our speaker at a cost of only $50 to the WHS. Karen said that she, Merri and Donna Griffin had checked into a company called the Greater Adirondack Ghost and Tour Company that presents history programs through the use of ghost stories. This could be a way to get history out to an expanded audience and might be something we should look into for next year.

Karen wrote a letter to the teachers of the Lake Placid schools advising them that the WHS is looking for a project to support local history education in grades K through 12. She will be sending this letter out shortly. Guy reported that he had nine people on his Iron Mine Hike. He covered local history as well as nature. These hikes have proved very popular.

Nancy reported for the Membership and Nominations Committee that we received 11 memberships during the past month. Our total membership for 2014 now stands at 114. We will decide at the next meeting when to send out reminders for those who have not yet renewed. We will be voting at the next meeting for Secretary, President, Vice-President and one Trustee position, currently occupied by Gil Dyke. Bob Cressey nominated all the incumbents for these positions and nominations will remain open until next meeting.

Karen reported for the Whiteface Visitor’s Bureau that they held the Spring Member Luncheon today at the Atmospheric Science Research Center Whiteface Field Station. Guy reported that the Cemetery Committee has not yet met. They still need to select more stones for repair.

The Building Committee and the WHS Board met on April 29th to review the cost information received from Plattsburgh Housing. They reviewed items line by line to determine what costs are for essential items and which could possibly be eliminated. Some of the recommended changes for cost reduction included lowering ceiling height from 8’6” to 8’, and eliminating handicapped access for kitchen, They have also asked for cost without the third pod. This would require some adjustments to insure that there is enough space for people and for exhibits/records. It was also mentioned that sprinklers are not required if the room size holds less than 100 people. This would be a cost saving in construction, however the sprinklers would reduce insurance costs. Costs will have to be compared. Karen asked that we look at the drawing and make suggestions.

Fundraising was the next discussion topic. Karen reported High Falls Gorge and Whiteface Mountain will probably start selling our Arcadia book and the stickers. We will also be selling the Great Escape Tickets. We would like to have a raffle of some kind at the Festival of Colors.

Karen passed out copies of the Google Analytics overview of activity on our website. She noted that the walking tour page is getting a good number of hits and there is also activity with our Facebook page. Karen said that she has given Patrick our list of Programs for 2014 to add to the website.

Karen handed out copies of the draft letter to request donations to the WHS Acorn Fund. A number of changes and additions were suggested. Doug mentioned that it is perhaps too early to send out the letter at this time. We need to be further along in the process of acquiring our building before asking for funds to maintain and operate it. We proposed October as a tentative date for sending out the letter.

Karen completed and mailed out the New York State Annual Report. We got an email from Margaret Gibbs about the Path through History Weekends on June 7-8 and 14-15. She was proposing that Essex County offer free museum admission on the second weekend. There is a New York Archives Conference Wednesday sponsored by the Northern New York Library Network on Jun 4th through Friday June 6th at Binghamton University.

Doug gave Karen an article with guidelines for submitting news articles which may prove helpful. Our next meeting will be June 4th.

Respectfully Submitted,
Nancy Cressey
Wilmington Historical Society


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