Welcome to our first meeting in 2002. If I have my mind unscrambled, I think it is Monday, March 18, 2002.
What a year, time continues to move faster and faster. If you look at our displays, you will see the framed approval of Rogers' Store in the Virginia Landmark Registry, signed by the Governor of Virginia. The approval in the National Registry should automatically be received in around two months.
I also want to announce that on February 20, 2002, the Surry County Board of Zoning Appeals approved a special exception for the Rogers property zoning, A-R, Agricultural-Rural Residence, allowing its use as a museum.
Further, specifications have been written and bids are being solicited to spend around $40,000.00 from our State Grant for fixing up the store. Work planned includes painting and new electrical and porch floors for Rogers' Store. The work on Gwaltney's Store will include some new framing, a new roof and other work to preserve, not restore, what we have. It has been slow, but progress is being made.
There has been a lot of talk lately on the Courthouse expansion and how it will affect the Societies office. At this time there is much supposition, lots of rumors, and few facts as to if, what and when changes will take place. If the buildings behind the Courthouse have to be moved, the Society will likely try to move one or more to our property. Wallace Edwards is following this closely, and we are trying to insure our property will be properly zoned to use, if and when decisions have to be made. Your board of directors will make these decisions, and we will keep you informed every step along the way.
Needless to say, while the Society is financially sound and stable, additional funds must be found if we attempt to provide our own facilities. I am putting everyone on notice right now.
I want to give special thanks to Bo Bohannan and his family for allowing us to act as sales agent for their reprint of "Old Surry", written by his grandfather, A. W. Bohannan. If the last week is any indication, sales are going to be very brisk.
Because of these sales, the Society has become registered to collect sales tax for the State of Virginia. We also expect to soon have other Surry books for sale, along with Lorena Leath's pictures. I want to thank Shirley Cockes for taking on the handling of these sales. These sales will help provide income to the Society.
Our Archives continue to grow rapidly, and much information still must be filed. Indexing and cross indexing this information is going to be a massive job. We must make the information easily available and yet secure. The computer will play a large part in our future plans. As time goes on, more and more information will be scanned into the computer and saved on CD compact disc. Just one cubic foot of storage space in a fire safe can insure that our information will not be lost, even in a catastrophic fire. Of course, we still expect that hard copies will be our main archives.
Some things continue to amaze me. I cannot believe how many old pictures of Surry County and our ancestors are surfacing. Obviously, there are many hundreds if not thousands that have been hidden away in drawers and files for generations.
Past misconceptions and beliefs continue to be shattered. Among the whites of Surry County, few of us had any conception of the records, pictures and history our black neighbors and friends have. Though perhaps many were late in starting to document their history, an immense amount of information is coming forth. Because so many families have lived here so long, on their land, and remembering the past, good and bad, little has been lost.
Our work to transcribe, index and make available previously unknown records is gratifying. When you put together the records and the remembered past, both become more important. It is like the body and soul. The records provide the body, the remembered past provides the soul and spirit.
Visitation is increasing at a rapid pace. I must thank Dennis Hudgins for his immense help. No one can create excitement like Dennis. What is he most interested in? The next new thing he finds.
In conclusion, we must have another half dozen to go to England. Come on, lets go. Sign up now. You will not regret it.
[Jim Atkins, President]