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Wilmington Historical Society
Minutes of Meeting
Wednesday, November 5, 2014
Wilmington Community Center


Karen Peters
Merri C. Peck
Gil Dyke
Linda Joss-Dyke
Susan Apelt
Richard Apelt
Guy Stephenson
Donna Griffin
Barbara Rothman
Nancy Cressey
Bob Cressey

Karen Peters called the meeting to order and we began our discussion of the “History of Extreme Weather in Wilmington”. Karen opened the discussion by showing some slides of snow storms and early snow plowing equipment. One photo taken on Whiteface Highway at the Wilmington Turn showed men shoveling in front of the plow. Guy Stephenson explained that they had to shovel so that the snow would not go over the top of the plow. Not much sanding was done because the sand had to be loaded and spread by hand. Karen had an article describing the year without a summer in 1816 which was caused by a volcanic eruption in Indonesia. Snow and ice in the summer months caused massive crop failures and people and animals died from starvation. We also heard about the “Great Blowdown” of 1950 and a freak lightning storm on Whiteface.

At the close of the open discussion Karen opened the business meeting. Karen called for the secretary’s report. Linda Joss-Dyke moved to accept the minutes as read and her motion was seconded by Donna Griffin. All voted in favor.

Karen then called for the Treasurer’s report. Donna had previously made copies of her report available. As of the end of October our checking account balance was $5,814.13, our Wilmington Historical Society Fund at the Adirondack Foundation was $5,000, and $100 was in petty cash. Gil moved to approve the report and Linda seconded. All voted in favor. Karen then reminded Donna that she will need to prepare a proposed 2015 budget for our next meeting on January 7th. We also need to send a thank you letter to the Country Bear for providing refreshments for all our meetings and programs in 2014. We received the two EZ Up shelters that we ordered.

Karen reported on communications. She sent thank you notes to Tina Terry for providing a genealogy of the Lawrence family and to Barbara Mulvey for providing photos of herself working at Santa’s Workshop. Copies of the photos were given to Charles Shields who in turn sent the WHS 19 newspaper articles about Santa’s Workshop that were not in Bob Reiss’s collection. We received a thank you from Terry Manley for the genealogy program. Bob Peters acquired a newspaper photo of Steve Maher taken during the 1980 Olympics, a copy of which was provided to Allison Haas at the Olympic Museum. She responded with a thank you to the WHS. Karen sent out a number of thank you notes, including one to Randy Preston for some Whiteface Highway reconstruction photos, one to Charles Shields, one to Bridgett Leavitt for helping us get names for our Acorn appeal mailing list and one to Essex County for providing us with mailing labels. We received a note from the Adirondack Forty-Sixers about their 100 year anniversary celebration project in which they stated that they look forward to working with us. Harold Hinds has phoned and emailed expressing his desire that we consolidate his collection on the web. He has granted a large genealogical library, the Allen County Library the right to digitize the collection. We received a note from Kara Page regarding the genealogy program which was presented on October 22nd. She and her husband were unable to attend because the program was on a workday and she asked if it could be given again on a weekend. Karen and Bob are considering when might be the best time for them to do this. Nancy McNabb sent an email advising that her Winch, Watson and George genealogies are on Ancestry.com and are open for anyone to view. We received a notice from the Capital District Civil War Round Table that they are hosting a conference, “The Beginning of the End” on November 7, 8 and 9. 2014.

Discussion turned to Acquisitions and Research. Bob Peters donated the previously mentioned photo of Steve Maher. Gary Haggart donated two sets of books authored by Fran Betters. Karen assisted someone researching the Winch family and she met with an individual who was able to provide more information on the Lawrence family. We received a copy of the new book Lost Ski Areas of the Adirondacks from author Jeremy Davis. Barbara Rothman donated a photo of the reopening of the Library in June 1983. Doug Wolfe donated a newspaper about the Battle of Plattsburgh Sesqui-Centennial. Our next research/work night will be Tuesday, November 18 from 6-9 PM.

Merri reported for the Library, Museum and Historic Sites Committee that our printer still works. She was able to resolve problems by purchasing Adobe Pro software for $45 from Tech Soup and can now move forward without retyping volumes of records.

Karen reported for the Publications and Programs Committee that 11 people attended the Genealogy Program on October 22nd. Marty Podskoch will be holding a book signing event sometime in the spring for his book, Adirondack 102 Club. Karen said she had posted a photo on Facebook relevant to tonight’s open discussion. The picture was an old snowplow with five men standing by it and she asked if anyone could identify the men. This photo generated a huge volume of likes and comments. This is a great way to generate interest for our open discussions. Karen asked for suggestions and ideas for programs for 2015. Donna suggested sponsoring a field trip to bring children to our Community Center for a tour/program.

Nancy reported for the Membership and Nominations Committee for the past two months. In September we received 17 memberships, largely as a result of the reminders and the Festival of Colors. In October there were three memberships, bringing the total to 196. This is the highest total we have had.

The Wilmington Recreation Committee is working on signage and updating their website, whitefaceregion.com.

Karen spoke to our contact at Arcadia Books about distributing our book more widely throughout the Adirondacks and surrounding towns of northern New York. She will also advertise the book as an excellent Christmas gift in the Jay Community News.

Linda reported that she has not been able to get a response from Whiteface on whether they will sell our stickers or book. We are waiting to receive the envelopes for our first annual Wilmington Historical Society Fund (at the Adirondack Foundation) drive. Linda mentioned that the town needs an events calendar that covers everything happening in the area. We often don’t find out about events until after the fact. Karen agreed to bring this up with the Recreation Committee.

Donna has been in contact with our webmaster Patrick McIntyre about putting PayPal on our website. Patrick provided us with the Google Analytics statistics on our site. We had 237 visits. Pictures are what get the most visits on our site.

Eddie Griffin has two sets of photos of the Whiteface Highway Construction for the WHS. Guy also has many photos of the project that will become part of our collection. We may also be able to get copies of photos taken by the project engineers. Guy will try to see if we can also get copies of the drawings for the project.

Donna reported that we purchased Grant Station software. She will try for a grant to digitize records. We could use it for the digitization of the Harold Hinds collection. Karen reported that we received a solicitation for a donation to the town’s Children’s Christmas Celebration. Linda moved that we donate $50 and her motion was seconded by Guy. The motion carried unanimously. Donna will send the town a check.

Karen also mentioned that the Jay Community News had requested donations to help defray their costs. The WHS has benefitted greatly from the Jay Community News. Guy moved to donate $25 and Gil seconded. All voted in favor. Donna will send a check.

Our next meeting will be January 7th.

Gil made a motion to adjourn and it was seconded by Guy. The motion carried unanimously.

Respectfully Submitted,
Nancy Cressey
Wilmington Historical Society


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