The June 12, 2006 meeting of the Haralson County Historical Society took place in the main reading room of the Historic Courthouse in Buchanan. It was led by President Karen Higgins. These notes, written by Publicity Chair Ron Feigenblatt at the behest of absent Secretary Jeri Ezell, also record informal discussions held before the nominal meeting starting time, on account of the need for Co-President Terrell McBrayer to depart this meeting early for another meeting.
Those present for all or part of the meeting were:
President Karen Higgins Co-President Terrell McBrayer Vice-President Peggy Kimball Treasurer Ann Bannister Publicity Chair Ron Feigenblatt Festival Chair Helen Higgins Clovis Momon John Norton Stephanie Jarrell Frank McIntire
The minutes for the May 8, 2006 meeting were not read and approved, on account of the absence of Secretary Jeri Ezell, who authored them. However, a printed copy was presented for all those who cared to read same.
Ron Feigenblatt presented two vouchers for materials expenses: One totaled $101.31 for parts for the new fixed sign added to the external marquee sign. The other totalled $18.86 for compact fluorescent bulbs and membership drive postage. Karen complimented Ron on the attractiveness of the new sign, which was deployed before Spring Fair on the Square, as promised.
Ron said that transcription of viewer notes for the film Buchanan on Parade would now proceed with the help of Brooke Murphy. He reminded the Society he was given a budget of about $100 to pay for transcription and postal expenses.
Treasurer Ann Bannister reported a treasury balance of $7345.64. Payment for membership renewals were presented to her for four parties. A fifth party questioned renewal dues amounts on account of recent (13 February 2006) payment of full-year dues. Ann also received dues from two new members. Ron Feigenblatt collected renewal forms for all members submitting them, that the membership database might be updated.
John Norton thought it was unlikely that the Haralson County government will pay the previous years' utility bill for the Historic Courthouse at this point. He suggested that the Society issue quarterly financial statements in written form, but no formal motion was made.
Ron Feigenblatt reported selling only one (two-book) set of books at Spring Fair on the Square and recommended drastic cuts in price, noting that the book trade remainders volumes after two years, which is only six months away for our two books. Clovis Momon said that she expected the entire inventory to sell out at current prices after enough years had passed and so was disinclined to reduce prices. Terrell McBrayer offered a motion that the cost of the reprinted History Book be lowered to $30 for 120 days, but that the Cemetery book price be held at $30. The motion passed without opposition. After the meeting was adjourned, Ann Bannister reported selling a new single copy of the History Book by mail for $68.50(?).
Karen Higgins talked about the need for a "small update" to the Cemetery book. Prior to the meeting, she had conferred on errors within that book with Richard Boarts. Ron Feigenblatt noted that the Society's Web site provides a link for providing errata on the book. But so far, he has only had one e-mail inquiry regarding amending contents of the book, which probably doesn't even stem from this mechanism.
Stephanie Jarrell, a new member, reported learning about the need for an editor for a new history book from the new Society Wiki at http://hchs.wikispaces.com that Ron Feigenblatt had showed her, which brought her to membership and the meeting. Terrell McBrayer moved to establish a steering committee to examine the prospects for such a new history book. The motion passed without opposition and Karen Higgins appointed Stephanie to lead this committee. Karen related we would like to issue a volume on the 25th anniversary (2008) of the original history book date (1983). Ron provided Stephanie with an essay regarding the printing-on-demand publisher he had already investigated.
Those present took time to introduce themselves to Frank McIntire, who is new to Haralson County and this day joined the Society.
John Norton asked for permission to have signs made for two reserved parking spaces at the Historic Courthouse for the library staff. Karen Higgins asked that he instead contact Bill McConnell of the road department for signs.
Ron Feigenblatt reported following up on the discussion at our last meeting to honor Whitlow Wyatt with a roadside sign. Ron reported he has posted a framed biography with photos of Mr. Wyatt upstairs in the rear courtroom antechamber. He suggested the Society also post similar exhibits for Thomas Murphy and Leroy Almon, and inquired about the recent relocation of our empty picture frames.
Ron also reported researching the large metal historical markers which dot Georgia. They now cost about $2,500 each to erect. According to the Carl Vinson Institute of Government at the University of Georgia, the state provides $75,000 annually for new markers, decisions about which are made by the Georgia Historical Society. Ron noted that society also grants annual historical prizes and husbands local historical societies as associate members for $50 annually. Membership benefits include an annual subscription to a quarterly serial. Numerous societies in surrounding counties - Carroll, Paulding and Polk - are members, but none of the three historical societies in Haralson (Haralson County Historical Society, Tallapoosa Historical Society and the Sons of Confederate Veterans) are members. Karen Higgins is inclined to have the Society join and took study materials and an application form from Ron. Peggy Kimball noted the Society had been a member in the early 1990s.
Ron also reported that Joe Conley, a descendent of the Hungarian colony settlers, would visit the county between 22 and 29 June and enjoy a Historic Courthouse tour. He noted that the Vinson Institute collects photographs and inscription transcriptions for the aforementioned metal historical markers. Haralson County has five markers, but only the marker on the Historic Courthouse grounds is currently documented. Ron said that a photo of the Hungarian Colony marker, surrounded by numerous descendents of the colonists, would make for an interesting press release as well as documentation for Vinson.
Ron also reported the New Georgia Encyclopedia now carries a new article on Haralson County and its history.
Terrell McBrayer distributed materials regarding fundraising for acquisition of the home of the late Mayor Evelyn Wade as a museum. This included a real estate appraisal dated August 8, 2005; a project prospectus dated June 12, 2006 and a document proposing "Next Steps in Proposed Purchase of Wade House" also dated June 12, 2006. This last document was slightly reworded, and after a long discussion, the Society voted to support it, with five voting yes and none opposed. Find a copy of the approved plan here. [Postscript: A slightly different plan, here, was communicated on June 16, 2006.]
During the discussion, anxieties were expressed about the ability of the Society to undertake management of the Wade House, given its meagre manpower resources. Questions were raised regarding use stipulations and the ability to sell. Karen Higgins said maintaining history is our mission and spending $50,000 toward purchase of a property assessed at $180,000 is a good bargain. But she first expressed a desire to wait on the results of fundraising and staffing efforts in the forthcoming month before moving forward.
Terrell McBrayer said that the House should be owned by the Haralson County Historical Society to provide the project with the protection of tax exemption. He said the owner would finance the fundraising shortfall at a good rate of interest. John Norton estimated that $8,000 to $10,000 would be raised in the near future, as well about $3,000 to $5,000 annually in the years to come. John said that he was working to create a Trustees Board of substantial citizens eager to preserve their good reputations who would manage the property. He said that he was willing to sign a binding contract valid for 10 years that would obligate him to purchase the Wade House from the Historical Society for $75,000 if the Society or the Trustees found it impractical to run the property. John said that acquiring the property would be an excellent way to recruit good members for the Society through the association of the Trustees Board with it. He claimed it would help the library's growing need for more room, provide space for a classroom, and make an alternative home for the Society if one day the Historic Courthouse was condemned. He noted that the upstairs might be rented out to provide a revenue stream or housing for an on-premises caretaker. He said he could immediately rent the upstairs for $300 monthly if needed, based on his experience in operating about 15 properties at this time.
Terrell McBrayer said that there would be a meeting this forthcoming Saturday at the Historic Courthouse to do fundraising from Buchanan High School alumni for the Wade House purchase. [An e-mail dated: Thu, 15 Jun 2006 06:47:01 -0400 from Terrell offered this corrected time: "the work session should be 10-2:30"]
The meeting took note that 2006 is the 150th anniversary of the founding of Haralson County and explored ways in which we might commemorate this event, especially at the forthcoming Fall Fair on the Square. John Norton said while he could not commit to becoming a formal committee member, he would work with Festival Chair Helen Higgins and the "Festival Chair Emeritus" Peggy Kimball.
Ron Feigenblatt mentioned that the screensaver of the card catalog PC in the corridor now features a slide show of about 50 vintage photographs taken in Haralson County in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, including a title frame noting the 150th anniversary. He said that the annual newsletter issued in May 2006 also solicits suggestions for anniversary activities.
Karen Higgins suggested working on additional displays using photographs, genealogy items, and engaging the help of others like the Sons of Confederate Veterans. She said she could talk to Sheriff Eddie Mixon about old law enforcement items, and to all of the town governments in the county.
Peggy Kimball noted she had a very nice old photograph of her great-grandfather. She suggested involving the schools with a bus tour of the county. There could be a student essay contest with prizes donated by banks and politicians.
John Norton suggested a tour of historic homes in all the towns of the county. He suggested the Fair should solicit booths from the various governments in the county. John advocated reprising the "womanless beauty pageant" recently held in Tallapoosa. He said a fundraiser could involve mock arrests by the sheriff, whose arrestees would be "bailed out" with $100 donations. John said that County Commissioner Sammy Robinson would be an excellent speaker on military history.
Stephanie Jarrell suggested featuring old clothes and photos. Ron Feigenblatt said a historic review of clothing could build on the sewing skills of numerous local residents who had worked in the industry, and that the Internet could be used to provide designs for recreated costumes. Peggy Kimball said she could ask Sharon Sewell about this.
John Norton said he would help with publicity by bringing either Frank Ellis or Jamie Cohran from the local newspaper to our next meeting.
Respectfully submitted, Ron Feigenblatt