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Wilmington Historical Society
Wednesday, September 5, 2012
Wilmington Community Center


Karen Peters
Merri C. Peck
Nancy Cressey
Bob Cressey
Doug Wolfe
Mary Liz Alexander
Joyce McLean
Joe McAvoy
Ellie McAvoy
Maurice E. Fletcher
Barbara Rothman
Brenda McGreevy
Guy Stephenson

Karen Peters called the meeting to order and we began the open discussion of “The History of Whiteface Highway.” Karen showed a series of slides of the Whiteface Highway and Doug Wolfe gave an explanation of each one. He told us that the castle at the top of the road is a copy of one in Northumberland, England. Maurice Fletcher related a story about how his father, who had a brand new dump truck, was hired for construction of the highway for $10 a day. On the first day someone dumped a boulder into the truck that caused the truck frame to buckle. The truck got fixed and after being promised it would not happen again, Maurice’s father returned to work on the road. Doug told us that the shovel operators received the highest pay of $1.10 per hour and laborers worked for 45 cents per hour. The highway officially opened July 20, 1935.

Karen called for the Secretary’s report. Guy Stephenson moved to accept the minutes as read and Doug seconded the motion. All voted in favor. Bob then presented the treasurer’s report. The bank balance is $4,104.67. We had income of $396 consisting of $395 in memberships and $1 in donations. Our expenses totaled $52.99 and included $23.99 for office supplies and $30 for special events. Guy made a motion to accept the report as given and Merri Peck seconded the motion. It carried unanimously.

Discussion then turned to communications. Karen sent a hand written thank you note to Bea Lawrence. She sent a thank you to Joe Provoncha for his program on “Links, Chains and the Mallory Grant.” She also thanked him for allowing the WHS to copy photographs from the Wilmington book of restaurants and inns and for donating a medal which was given to wives of World War I veterans by the Essex County Board of Supervisors. Joe Provoncha has said he will provide us with more information on the Mallory Grant in answer to some of the questions from the talk he gave. Karen sent an email to Jay O’Hern to tell him about a film of Noah John Rondeau being taken from his Cold River Flow home to New York City by helicopter. The film is available at the Saranac Lake library and the Adirondack Museum in Blue Mountain Lake.

Karen received a call from the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society. They were collecting information on all New York State historical society holdings. We received photographs from Thomas George. Joe Provoncha donated photographs and a medal given to Essex County wives of World War I veterans. We don’t know whether the medal was given only to widows or to all wives. Merri will do some research to try to find out. We also got a list of all the Wilmington supervisors from 1821 to the present. Liz Miskovsky donated photos as well as some documents and booklets with a lot of information.

Merri reported for the Library, Museum and Historic Sites Committee that she has been working on the Harold Hinds and Myrtle Gowan collections. There is still a lot more work to do entering items onto the Past Perfect software.

Karen reported for the Publications and Programs Committee that the Country Bear is now providing refreshments for all our meetings as well as the programs. Ginny Crispell is still doing flyers. Beginning August 1st we are receiving weekly reports of our Facebook page traffic. It appears that our Facebook page is giving us more publicity and exposure. Nancy Cressey gave the Membership and Nominations Committee report. Since our last meeting we received six memberships accounting for one business and eight people. Our total membership now stands at 134. Doug suggested we might want to do a historic photo display as a thank you for those businesses that give large donations. Karen has concern about the drop in our membership numbers this year. She wondered if this could have anything to do with the fact that this year we sent the annual report via email instead of paper copies where possible. Nancy will review the membership list to see if the people who did not renew were primarily those who got the email reports instead of paper copies.

The Whiteface Visitors Bureau has put out a list of all event dates up through 2016. Patrick McIntyre has been doing a good job of keeping our website up to date. Guy reported that the Cemetery Committee has not met since their tour of the cemeteries on July 31st. Guy will attend the next town board meeting to present the committee’s ideas and ask for town support.

Karen has made a display of old postcards to put up at our Festival of Colors tent for people to look at while they are waiting to view the slide show. Doug and Karen will begin set up at 8 AM. Bob and Nancy will bring the Wilmington books and the book rack for displaying them. Linda and Gil Dyke have also volunteered to help at the booth.

Guy said he had nothing new to report on the stone bridge. He will ask Randy Preston about the status of the bridge when he sees him.

Doug said he has advised the person who is going to digitize and restore the Roosevelt film that the WHS has authorized up to $800 for this project. Bob Peters has volunteered to look into Blue Ray equipment to see what would be most economical for us to purchase. Karen advised us that there is a Historic Roadside Marker grant program in case anyone is interested.

Our next research night is Tuesday, September 18. The book committee will meet tomorrow at 1:00 in the Community Center.

Guy moved to adjourn the meeting and Merri seconded. All voted in favor.

Respectfully Submitted,
Nancy Cressey
Wilmington Historical Society


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