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Wilmington Historical Society
Minutes of Annual Meeting
7:00 PM, Wednesday, October 1, 2008
Wilmington Community Center


Karen Peters
Doug Wolfe
Merri C. Peck
Bob Cressey
Nancy Cressey
Lora Bushy

Karen Peters called the meeting to order and we held our open discussion “Boarding Houses, Tourist Cottages, Hotels and Motels in Wilmington”. Upon the conclusion of the open discussion Karen asked for the secretary’s report. Merri Peck made a motion to accept the September minutes as read and it was seconded by Doug Wolfe. The motion carried unanimously.

Bob Cressey gave the treasurer’s report. He reported that our bank balance is $4,811.82. We had income for the month of $688.38 including $50 from VRS tickets, $629.38 from the sale of Sid Ward’s cutting boards and donations at the Festival of Colors, $5 from a membership and $4 from a refund from Peerless Insurance Company for overpayment. Our expenses for the month totaled $609.98, including $579.99 for purchase of a Viewsonic Digital Projector and $29.99 to renew our Lojack protection for the laptop computer. Bob also reported that we received a notice from NBT Bank concerning our free community service checking account. If we exceed 350 items on our monthly statement there will be a charge of 50 cents for each item in excess of 350. This will have no impact on WHS since we never approach the limit.

Karen reported on communications. We received information from Paul Langway about the 1932 Olympics and also an article from the May issue of the Preservationist about the bobsled run and the Whiteface Highway. Karen sent a sympathy card to Maurice Fletcher for the loss of his wife Marjorie. Maurice is an esteemed member of the WHS who has contributed much to our knowledge of the early years in Wilmington. A thank you card and certificate of appreciation was sent to Sid Ward for his substantial donation of the proceeds from sale of his cutting boards and all the time he spent in making the boards and selling them at the Festival. Thank you notes were also sent to Paul Langway for getting our laptop connected to the internet at the Community Center using the town’s WIFI connection, and to Dennis Keegan for supplying us with photos and information about Wilmington history. Karen wrote a letter to Bridget Hinman of ORDA asking that they consider giving the WHS copies or extra originals of photos and posters of past events. She also asked that they consider using the WHS as a secondary repository for historical materials. Karen sent a thank you to Mike Scheur of High Peaks Cyclery for mountain bike photos used in our display at the Festival of Colors. She also sent thank you notes to Jeri Wright and the Visitor’s Bureau for supplying photos for the display. Karen reported that she participated in a discussion on the Upstate History Alliance (UHA) list serve about the most effective size for boards. She told them that WHS has seven board members and that has worked well for our small organization. Karen reported that we received a special one day offer from Tech Soup to purchase a GrantStation membership for $99 which would direct us to funding opportunities and teach us how to be successful in writing grant applications. The cost of the membership is normally $399. Karen pointed out that GrantStation may be something that we should consider in the future. Karen faxed information about our upcoming program in recognition of Archives Month “How Deep Are Your Wilmington Roots?” to the Northern New York Library Network (NNYLN) and they are putting out a press release on it. Merri has developed a number of different family tree and other charts to get people started on gathering their family history information. There will be activities directed at children to get them interested in learning about their family history.

New acquisitions for the past month included copies of photos from Mike Scheur, Dennis Keegan, Jeri Wright and the Visitors Bureau. We had no new research inquiries in the past month.

Merri reported that progress with Past Perfect has been slow because she does not have time to work uninterrupted on inputting data. She plans to set up an evening session to train others so that some of the data entry work can be spread out.

We received five copies of Volume I of the Wilmington books, The Wilmington Town Ledger 1821-1865. The price for this volume is $33.50, with a ten percent discount available to WHS members.

Our laptop is now online in the Community Center, thanks to Paul Langway. Our Lojack protection lapsed due to the difficulty of renewing online with a check as opposed to a credit card, but we did send in our check and we were told it would take about a week to get the protection turned back on. Karen will check the status of this in the next few days.

Karen reported for the Publications and Programs Committee that the Visitors Bureau very much liked the Whiteface outdoor activities display we had at the Festival of Colors. They now have it at the Visitor’s Bureau and would like to keep it on display there. Those present agreed that this would be a good idea. Press releases were sent out on tonight’s discussion of “Boarding Houses, Tourist Cottages, Hotels and Motels” and on the upcoming program, “How Deep Are Your Wilmington Roots?” We are also receiving publicity through Lora Bushy’s newspaper column. Karen mentioned the possibility of arranging a book signing by Kate Messner, a children’s author of history books including one about Samuel de Champlain, as something to consider for the future. From the perspective of the WHS, the Festival of Colors went well. We had many visitors to our booth and we collected more signatures in our guest register than we have previously at any other event.

Nancy Cressey reported for the Membership and Nominations Committee that we had one membership for a total of $5 in the past month. Our membership total now stands at 181, which is an all time high.

Karen reported that she attended the Visitor’s Bureau meeting. High Peaks Video will be completing the video they did on Fran Betters at the Two Fly Banquet. The Visitor’s Bureau chose not to act on the suggestion to change their signs to show Whiteface from a Wilmington perspective instead of the Lake Placid view of the ski trails. The Visitor’s Bureau also asked if WHS has any plans for the 400th anniversary celebration of Champlain. There will be a large town Christmas celebration this year on Sunday November 23. The event will be free to all town residents and proof of residency will be required. The Visitor’s Bureau membership barbecue will be held Tuesday October 7 from 6 to 10PM, and the Christmas party will be Thursday December 11. As a member of the Visitors Bureau, the WHS is entitled to send two guests to each of these events.

The Board of Trustees reports that we purchased a new Viewsonic DLP digital projector for our presentations and programs. Having our own projector will assure that we can give our presentations without experiencing compatibility issues between the projector and laptop.

Under the heading of old business Karen reported that she checked on the status of our application for permanent charter with Carmita Figueroa. Ms. Figueroa assured Karen that we had fulfilled all the application requirements satisfactorily and now we only need a site visit from Dave Palmquist. She said that we will have two or three weeks notice before the site visit, but at this time they are waiting for funding before any site visits can be conducted.

Karen reported that Patrick McIntyre has updated our website. He added all the summer meeting minutes and agendas and pictures from the Festival of Colors. Patrick asked about adding some of the material we have on CDs and DVDs to our website. He needs to know how much space we have on the server. Karen will check on this.

Another book in the Wilmington book series is going to the publisher.

Doug reported that Matt Switlik had wanted to make a personal visit to see the cannon but was unable to make it. He asked us to check the carriage for obvious marks of origin which should be there if it was manufactured in Watervliet Arsenal. There are no marks which has led Mr. Switlik to think it may have came from Allegheny Arsenal, which would make it even more rare. Doug has done some research which may help corroborate this theory. Doug also reported that he is working in cooperation with the library on getting the 1854 poem “Chronicles of Wilmington” put to music.

Karen reported that she is working on the Whiteface Methodist Church 175th anniversary celebration. There will be two events in 2009—a general celebration in July and a commemoration of the merger of the Jay and Wilmington churches in September. Karen said that she has been receiving photos and items relevant to the church history and they will be kept with the WHS collection as well as at the church.

Karen informed us that Derek Muirden of Mountain Lakes Public Television has completed his interview of Fran Betters to be broadcast some time in the future.

We discussed how WHS might get involved in getting Wilmington’s World War II soldiers added to the WWII Registry. It was decided that we should put an article about it in the next newsletter and then set up a day for townspeople to come in or send in information and get their WWII veterans added to the register. Possibly it could be done in conjunction with Memorial Day or Veterans Day, or maybe it could be used as a discussion topic for one of our meetings.

Karen received a phone call from Bob Reiss. He wanted the WHS to do a repeat presentation of the first Santa’s Workshop program on the early years for AARCH. Unfortunately there had been a failure of communications and Karen did not find out about the presentation in time and was not able to do it. However, she was able to provide the CD with the complete slide show to one of the members of AARCH who ran the slide show for the presentation. Mr. Reiss reported that the program went very well.

Karen reported that she had received a fund raiser suggestion from Gary Yeaney. He suggested that we create a booklet for the local area including Jay and Ausable Forks similar to the “Meet the Town” booklet that Lake Placid produces. Funding would be derived from selling advertising to all the local businesses in the area. The idea was discussed but those present agreed that selling advertising for such a publication might not be entirely appropriate for a non-profit organization such as the WHS. This type of a publication would probably be more within the purview of the Visitors Bureau. Karen suggested that one thing we might consider would be to produce a calendar using historical Wilmington photos.

Karen asked Bob to check with Tech Soup to find the cost of the Publisher 2007 software program. We will discuss at the next meeting whether we should purchase this program to produce our next membership brochure.

Matt George, the Civil War reenactor informed Karen that the Capital District Civil War Roundtable is planning some kind of celebration of John Brown’s 150th anniversary. They may do an encampment in the Lake Placid area and if so they may ask us to have a booth or do some kind of display. This is something that we can consider as we receive more information. It was suggested that if we do a display we could use the same one for the Festival of Colors.

Bridget Hinman from ORDA would like to know if we are interested in having a display at the 2009 Oktoberfest.

The Church of the Nazarene is having a Denominational Centennial Celebration on Sunday, October 5. Merri will be attending and taking photos to commemorate this event.

AARCH is holding a workshop in Elizabethtown Saturday, October 11 on Cemetery Preservation and Conservation. The NNYLN is offering workshops October 9 in Plattsburgh and October 23 in Watertown on Internet Access to Historical Records. Three of the WHS board members have already signed up for this workshop. The Fall Regional Roundtable is scheduled for October 18 in Elizabethtown and the topic is Digitization—Best Practices for Cultural Heritage Institutions.

We had some discussion about the need for clarification on being a secondary repository for ORDA on materials relating to Whiteface Mountain history. We agreed that we should dedicate one of our cabinets to a Whiteface collection.

Doug Wolfe moved to adjourn and Karen seconded the motion. All voted in favor.

Respectfully submitted,
Nancy Cressey


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