Issue 5-10-15 Website - page 11

The next time you drive past
LeRoyHouse take a look at our
new sign. It is a work of art and
we have Bob Stephani to thank
for getting it done and installed
in time for our 75thAnniversary
meeting held at LeRoy House
this past Sunday. The members
elected Anne Frew, Shelia Furr,
BobCollettee andMarnyCleere
to theBoard of Trustees.
The electionwas a bit special,
because President Dan Cote
turned the gavel over to David
Frost, who was president of the
HistoricalSociety in1990,during
the50thAnniversary. ItwasDa-
vid’s grandfather, RoyMcPher-
son who was the first president
of the Historical Society. After
the election, David turned the
gavelover tohisdaughter,Marny
Cleere who adjourned themeet-
ing.Thepassingof thegavelwas
symbolic of the legacy passed
from one generation to another.
David told me a wonderful
story about his grandfather. In
August, 1940, the Historical
Society held its meeting at his
grandfather’s house on Oatka
Trail.Thehousewasbuilt next to
the siteof theoriginal family log
cabin. Shortly after the summer
meeting, a fire broke out in the
house. The family highboy was
taken out the front door, and
although the house was badly
damaged, David’s grandfather
was determined to repair the old
house in time forChristmas.
removed and replaced. David,
If someone removed ablackwooden spindled quilt rack from
theback of my blue truck, I would really like to have it returned.
It was given tome bymy grandmother and it belonged
tohermother. It has a lot of sentimental value.
If you could return it, no questions asked,
put it on the back porchof theLeRoyHouse.
David Frost, grandson of first
president Roy McPherson,
takes the gavel from President
Dan Cote and passes it to his
who was two at the time, re-
members with great fondness
the day his grandfather stood
with him in front of the new
fireplace.Afirehadbeen laidon
thehearth, andwithhisgrandfa-
ther’sguidance,he reached fora
longwoodenmatch, and lit the
first fire in the new fireplace.
This rekindling of the home
fire, again, symbolic of the re-
kindling of a family’s heritage.
Andso too, theHistoricalSoci-
ety is rekindling its commitment
as it celebrates its 75th year.
As I told the group, history is a
guidepost, not a hitching post.
Today, it appears thatAmericans
are turning their attention away
from our history and our her-
itage. The noted author David
McCullough wrote: “A nation
that forgets its past can function
nobetter than an individualwith
ourgovernment, andourchildren
are not able to function. And so
the challenge for the small local
historical society is tomake sure
that our history is not forgotten.
Garrison Keillor addressed
the Association of State and
LocalHistory and remarked that
“history is local - - everything
has to takeplace somewhere.”A
character in Michael Crichton’s
“Timeline” says: “If you don’t
know history, you don’t know
anything. You are a leaf that
doesn’t know it is part of a tree.”
It scaresmesometimeswhen I
learnof localhistorical societies
who have to disband because
they can’t attract newmembers
or theirmembersaresoold, they
can’t keep their museum open.
That was the case a few years
ago, when the Pavilion Histor-
ical Society disbanded and sent
some of their collections to us
for safe keeping.
In thepast twoweeks, I learned
of two other historical societies
that are on the brink of disband-
ing. Right now, the LeRoy His-
torical Society is still growing
and enjoys the support of a very
diverse group ofmembers. And
we are most appreciative of the
Many of our members are the
youngermembersof thecommu-
ment to student education.
We know that they do not
have the time to attendmeetings
or lectures but we benefit from
their financial support. Luckily,
David Grayson has encouraged
me to share historical articles
in the
LeRoy Pennysaver
fulfills our mission to share the
history of LeRoy. And luckily,
LeRoy has a great history that is
fascinating and worth the effort
topreserve.Wehave the storyof
women’s education, American
entrepreneurial success, innova-
tion, significant art and artists,
and political relevance.
I like to think that thework of
the Historical Society has only
just begun and there is somuch
more to do. I am still buoyed by
theexcitement ofkidswhen they
discover how to churn butter or
when they find the name ofMy-
ronPiersonon theCivilWarmon-
ument. I am proud of the work
of the volunteerswhohelpplace
flagson thegravesofveterans for
Memorial Day. There is a lot of
satisfaction in helping folks find
their family in the clipping file
or the genealogy files. Imagine
what it is like to show someonea
photographof their grandmother
orunclewho theyhadnever seen
before! Iwishmorepeoplecould
be at the door when our visitors
walk in toexclaim–“I’vealways
wanted to stop and today we’re
here! I can’t believe there’s a
Jell-OMuseum.” Last year, a
lot of you helpedmake theMini
Cooper folks welcome - - and
they are still talking about their
visit toLeRoy.
If you are not amember of the
you to join us and help support
ourefforts. Ifyoudecide to joinat
the$50 level,we still have a few
copies of the special edition of
LeRoyHistory Saver
that we
will send you. But we welcome
anymember at any level.
Correction:Very sorry that ShirleyGarnerwas slighted in last
week’s article andwasmistakenly named Sylvia several times.
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