Georgetown group keeps history alive

Mike Black, top left, won a raffle for dinner at the Georgetown Historical Society house. Clockwise, starting lower left, are Faye Willett, Black, Rex Noggle and Diane Noggle.

GEORGETOWN — Keeping the past interesting and relevant for today’s generation is important to the Georgetown Historical Society.

“We need to tell the kids in this town that important people came from Georgetown,” Janet Thompson, board vice president, said. “We want to show what people from Georgetown can do and be successful. I want them to think they can do whatever (people from the past) did.”

One project that’s under way is that the board is interviewing older residents about their family histories and memories of the Georgetown area. The community needs a new history book; the last book was published in 1977 for the sesquicentennial.

Longtime residents may contact any board member or mail their memories to the post office box.

Another event that happened last week as a fundraiser was a candlelight dinner for four people at the historical house at 501 N. Main St.

One of the four, Mike Black, was the winner of a raffle, which brought in about $800 to maintain the house. He brought along guests Faye Willett, his sister Diane Noggle and her husband, Rex.

“It was great,” Black recalled later. “With china from the museum and women dressed in (historical) attire, they went all out.”

He and his guests — who also enjoyed the event — heard a presentation about the history of Georgetown and the museum.

The event was special to Black because he has a strong historical tie to the area. He lives in the family home on a sesquicentennial farm, settled in 1853, between Westville and Georgetown. His family came to this area from Kentucky in 1825.

Black also is a member of the historical society.

The group has three fundraisers each year: the Spring Fling, Holiday Gathering, and last two years, a chili meal. However, treasurer Brenda Lierman came up with the idea for a historical dinner this year instead of chili.

The meal featured candlelight, homemade entrees and sides, cloth napkins, wine and dishes from the museum, and board members dressed in attire from the 1860-1870s (some made their own outfits).

The menu included Aunt Martha’s chicken casserole, Grandma Finney’s corn pudding, Charity’s famous cranberry salad, Brenda’s fresh garden variety slaw, Jan’s special green beans, sky high yeast rolls with home-churned butter, and desserts, Betty’s prize-winning cherry pie or Quaker extra fudgy layer cake.

“We hope the dinner will draw more enthusiasm,” past president and dinner chairman Jan Felgenhauer said.

Thompson added, “Whenever we have a program, everyone pulls together and we have fun.”

Money from the fundraisers goes to maintain the historical society’s Civil War-era house at Huffman and Main streets. The house received a new roof last fall, due to the summer hailstorm, and the exterior was repainted.

Furnace and air conditioning were added in the recent past, and custom-made windows were installed.

The board members will be glad when all of the renovations are done, Thompson said, adding, “It will be nice when we can concentrate on something else.”

In September, the group will present a program on the Civil War at the senior center.

The society has nine board members and about 100 members, and meets once a month.

ABOUT THE HOUSE

The house, built around 1868, has four rooms with 10-foot-high ceilings, an enclosed back porch and an attic. A pantry was turned into a bathroom in later years.

The house originally was owned by the Georgetown Area Doctors Fund, formed in 1974 to bring a second doctor to town. For a time, it was used as offices for Dr. M.R. Ochoa.

The house was given to the Georgetown Historical Society in 1980. The group fixed it up, and held an open house in December 1981.

It went through a short period of inattention until 2017, when the society decided to tackle it.

The furnishings in the home are antiques from that time period or are reproductions. One chandelier is original, but the others are replicas.

The house contains a lot of memorabilia and antiques, include clothing, purses, school items back to 1880 and military artifacts.

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