The Garden City Historical Society held its annual meeting June 25 at the Historical Society Museum. Following the Pledge of Allegiance led by Scout Patrick Murphy from Cathedral Troop 55, resident Albert Intreglia welcomed Society members and guests to the organization’s 37th annual meeting since its founding in 1975.
Mayor Don Brudie administered the oath of office to the society’s returning slate of officers: president Albert Intreglia, vice president Mary Mahoney, recording secretary Gloria Jones, corresponding secretary Beth Watras and treasurer Tom Rechner.
Joining the board as new trustees are Suzie Alvey, Ed Alzner and Maureen McConnell. President Intreglia recognized Suzie and her husband, Rob, and Ed and his wife, Judy, as longtime supporters. He remarked that Maureen has a long history as a former society trustee and officer, particularly in the 1980s and 90s, before leaving the board to raise her growing family.
Deputy mayor John Watras welcomed the new trustees and invited the remaining trustees to step forward to be sworn in as members of the 2012-13 Historical Society Board of Trustees.
In his opening remarks, president Intreglia announced that the society will embark on a capital campaign beginning this fall. He noted that the society has received an estimate of $500,000 to complete work to the exterior of the Museum, an 1872 Stewart-era structure. In general, the capital improvements will include extensive restoration of the entire façade from ground floor to the cupola on the roof, including repairs to the soffits, window trim, gutter system and full restoration of all double hung windows, many still containing their original glazing. Additionally, the entire structure will be prepped and re-painted in its current historically accurate color scheme. Work will also include a re-grading of the gravel driveway and apron.
“More and more of the historic buildings in our community are being threatened,” Intreglia said. “This board has pledged to do this restoration work over the next several years, which will include some applications for discretionary grants.” He continued that the society will create a legacy committee to help donors establish, through planned giving, vehicles to make possible bequests to the society that may have favorable tax consequences. “We hope residents will consider donating to the Society when the time comes,” he said.
Present at the annual meeting were Garden City High School seniors Laura Melone and Franklin Dickinson, the 2012 student recipients of the Stewart Fund Scholarship in memory of St. Mary’s and St. Paul’s presented annually by The Garden City Historical Society.
Intreglia mentioned the gracious support of the Stewart Fund, which consists of former members of the parent associations of the Cathedral Schools of St. Paul and St. Mary.
“The fund has successfully brought together the alumni communities from both schools,” said Intreglia, noting that the society has welcomed the group to use the museum to host meetings and that the fund has helped the society focus on scholarship awards.”
He thanked St. Mary’s alumna, former society board president and current member, Joanne K. Adams, for her prominent involvement with the Stewart Fund. In addition, he commended society education chairman Mary Jane Caldwell for her work with the high school's Guidance Department to articulate the ideals of the Stewart Fund with respect to awarding these scholarships.
“There is nothing more rewarding than recognizing the talents of the children of our community,” said Caldwell, noting that the scholarship criteria include excellence in social studies and demonstration of exemplary quality community service. “Laura and Franklin have a love for learning and have shown evidence of quality community service. Franklin has assisted The Garden City Historical Society in promoting awareness of historic structures, and we have learned of Laura’s contributions to the community. No doubt these two young people will become pillars of society, and carve a niche the size of the Grand Canyon.”
In his treasurer’s repot, Tom Rechner said, “This year, The Garden City Historical Society’s finances have been used to achieve the mission of the society, including special events that promote preserving town landmarks, lectures from prominent historians and art shows for adults and children alike.”
He added, “The A. T. Stewart Exchange is a very valuable asset and makes money for the society to maintain its museum. Yet, the museum’s infrastructure faces many challenges. We escaped Hurricane Irene last year, but we must always be prepared for what Mother Nature throws at us.” He reminded attendees at the meeting that the society will be hosting several events to boost its capital campaign fund.
Past president Brian Pinnola reported that the society has probably the most extensive collections of Garden City artifacts and memorabilia that exist in this community. He noted that several years ago the society purchased museum grade software for tracking its membership and Archives collections. Currently, Eagle Scout candidate Jack McKay is working with the Archives Committee to catalogue and organize the society’s collections.
Pinnola mentioned that the society often receives inquiries through the Internet when people peruse the society’s website. Recently, the Archives were visited by Dr. Robert MacKay, executive director of the Society for the Preservation of Long Island Antiquities, a regional preservation organization, who is researching information for an upcoming book by SPLIA on planned communities in the United States. Additionally, Richard Guy Wilson, a noted architecture historian and Commonwealth Professor in the Architectural History Department at the University of Virginia, who is writing the forward to the SPLIA book, visited the society’s Archives and toured the community, paying extra attention to Franklin Court.
“In the future, the society wishes to establish a reading room,” noted Pinnola, “so that the public and academia can access the valuable information in the collections under the watchful eyes of our museum archivists.”
President Intreglia complimented the volunteers of the A.T. Stewart Exchange, the society’s consignment shop, for bringing the shop’s inventory and accounting into the 21st century. He noted that while the shop had been using a traditional, hand-written method to monitor vendors’ items, which took hours and hours to reconcile at the end of the week, the Exchange has completed a full inventory and bar coded all items, and is now reopened with a new computer system. He congratulated the volunteers for learning how to operate the new system efficiently. The shop continues to accept MasterCard and Visa.