Historical society wants to bring past to present

by Sarah Melton

The Mount Holly Historical Society is hoping to heighten its presence in the community this year.

“We want to get people involved with the history of Mount Holly, whether it’s through participating in the archives project or coming to our meetings and listening to the different speakers we have or participating in any of our other programs,” said Meghan Childers Elting, vice president of the society.

“We also want to interest people of all ages. From the program side of it, the goal is to be able to get people as young as elementary school up to elderly people involved in understanding what Mount Holly’s history is and how it really does play a significant role in our community.”

The society is trying to plan a Founder’s Day event this year to celebrate the March 14, 1879, founding of Mount Holly. The event likely would take place on a Saturday or Sunday as close to the original founding date as possible. A census with around 400 Mount Holly resident names and music representative of the founding time period would be featured at the event.

“The only way I know how to get started is (to start) where we began and go forth,” said Leigh Brinkley, who helps head up the society’s Programs Committee. “Each year we can figure out a way to add to the conversation.”

Brinkley thought it would be neat if society members or even the public wanted to research a name or two on the census to find out more about the past residents and their families.

“Unless we are curious enough to find out who was here and why, we are not adding to the story,” she said. “It is really about the citizens. It’s about commerce, too, but as we all know, it’s about the people who live here.  I thought it would be an interesting way to learn more about who was here and encourage us to talk to each other. That is what history is I suppose.”

Brinkley is exploring the possibility of changing the society’s monthly meetings to quarterly meetings.

“I don’t know how everybody else’s time is, but I am about meeting to death,” she said. “I love doing what I do, but so much time is spent in meetings. Instead of 12 programs, let’s have four really good ones.”

Members will consider Brinkley’s proposal and send their votes in to Sandy Carter, publicity chairman, through e-mail. The results will be announced at the society’s meeting this month.

Carter said the society has had a strong presence in the media. Many newspapers, television stations, magazines and churches have publicized the society’s meetings. Carter is also working on developing a Facebook page for the society and is using electronic communication to keep in touch with members and the community.

Christine and Roy Vogel, chairmen of the society’s Archives Committee, could use a few extra hands going through old photographs and letters dating back to the 1800s. The committee is sorting through the archives, cataloguing everything chronologically, family-by-family and decade-by-decade. More old photographs or artifacts, particularly representing African-American history, are needed.

“I don’t think we have anything phenomenally important, but I think it will tell stories about these people,” Roy Vogel said. “I am hoping by developing this thing it will become a venue for people to donate really good stuff they may have in their attics. My dream is to create a museum in City Hall, but you need artifacts and papers to tell the story.”

The Mount Holly Historical Society meets at 7 p.m. the fourth Tuesday of each month at First United Methodist Church, 140 N. Main St.

For more information, contact Sandy Carter at 704-827-7552 or smc1221@bellsouth.net.

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