MCHS heading into 40th year
What is the goal of the Marengo county Historical Society?
It is to educate the public about the rich history of Marengo County and to preserve what we have &045; to preserve and educate.
How do you obtain funds purchase historical sites and maintain them?
The only site we have is Bluff Hall. It was the only site that we have actually purchased, in 1967. Twelve families got together to purchase that site for the society. The other houses, Lyon Hall, Laird Cottage and the little gift shop called Craft Corner next to Bluff Hall, were all given to us. The cottage has a trust that takes care of the house. Lyon Hall came with a small trust we have used to preserve the house. But with all the houses, Lyon Hall, Bluff Hall and the Craft Corner, we rely on memberships, fundraisers and donations, basically to maintain them.
What does the historic society have upcoming for the year?
This Thursday we have the one night only showing of the students’ artwork. The black and white photography of Historical Marengo County, which we have put into a calendar that is currently available. We have a pilgrimage in March, which is kind of the culminating weekend of the Hellman-Wyler Festival that we are extremely involved in and of which we are huge sponsors. We have our membership drive that is taking place right now, so anyone can become a member of the historical society. We welcome every and all persons interested in joining. We have our annual membership party in the fall and Christmas in the Canebrake during Christmas time. We will have other projects between those two times.
What does membership in the society entail?
Basically you will be on our mailing list. You will get a newsletter, and you will get into Bluff Hal free, anytime except Christmas on the River. You get ten percent off all purchases at the Canebrake Craft Corner. Membership is $25 for an individual and $40 for a couple. We have other levels higher than that if you want to do more than that. We are a none profit organization, so every dollar an individual gives to us is tax deductible. As I have said, we live off our membership, so that is where it goes.
The society has several properties in Demopolis. What does the society do outside of Demopolis?
We do not own property outside of Demopolis, but we are the county historical society. We try to support any other efforts that go on inside the county. We have provided funding for projects in Linden and Thomaston and places like that. We also provide publicity through our cookbook, which is still available. We featured sites in Thomaston and other areas. We have Marengo Maids, the high school girls who are our official hostesses for our events. Any time organizations in the county need them to host something they are available. We try to as much as we can within the county, like helping to raise money for historic markers and things like that. There are also behind the scenes things, for example if a person is trying to put their building on the national register or their house on the national register we will help guide them through those steps of that process. We don’t own houses outside of Demopolis, but we do try to help in any way that we can.
How long has the society been around?
Since 1967. We are celebrating our 40th year, though we haven’t been saying much about it yet.