So I was sitting here trying to figure how to start this post. When I write my own personal blog, I usually have something funny or witty to say. However, since this is something official, I guess I need to keep it more formal (or at least somewhat formal?). Maybe congratulations is a good way to start, since this is our first real, substantial post. Three cheers for us then!
All kidding aside, it is a great honour to be able to write this first of many posts for the Silver Mountain Historical Society. We’ve only existed for a few months, but I’m sure we will have a long and prosperous existence. It is the beginning of an exciting period for those of us involved and for the rich history of this area.
On Sunday December 9th we held our second ever meeting, this one to start the process of incorporating the society. The meeting was held in the historic Silver Mountain Station, a building that dates back to 1907 and is the sole remaining station on the Port Arthur, Duluth and Western Railway. A fitting location for a group committed to preserving history. The current owner and society founder Shelley Simon was gracious enough to allow us to meet in such a treasured place. The hosts for the meeting would be the then co-chairs of the society, Shelley and yours truly.
Sunday dawned snowy and grey, the weather threatening to put a damper over our event. After a 45 minute drive along scenic Highway 588, I arrived just before noon to get myself set up and help Shelley with any last minute details. Despite the conditions outside, there was a pretty good turnout for the meeting, with about 25 people in attendance. There were many new faces present, which was a good sign for the society.
After a few welcoming words and some introductions, we got down to business. I began the agenda with a quick presentation about the railway for those who were unfamiliar with it. The railway had such a huge impact on nearly every piece history in the area it is impossible to not talk about it. The challenge is however how to say it all in 10 minutes!
From there it was a little talk about how the society got started. It was a merging of like goals; Shelley, with her desire to preserve and promote the history of the Silver Mountain area, and myself trying to protect the former railway grade along North and Gunflint Lakes. It was something that was made to happen. Certainly this marriage of ideas has given the society the first of its many goals. There is definitely no shortage of history in the area and no shortage of places that require our attention. So much to do and we’ve only just begun!
Obviously the most important reason for our gathering was the incorporation of the society as a non-profit organization. This would be accomplished through the auspices of the Ontario Historical Society. Curiously, in order to file the papers with the OHS, we would need to select a society executive. That would present a bit of a catch 22; ideally we would like to wait until we legally exist to select this group, but those names had to be on the incorporation papers. Bizarre! Also, we would be asking people to vote when some of them had just signed membership cards that day.
At the society founding meeting on October 14th, Shelley and I had been appointed as interim co-chairs. The two of us would form the core of the executive, but who would volunteer to join us? Thankfully some individuals stepped forward to get the organization rolling, and it was particularly great to see some younger folks involved. So for at least the next year, this is the current executive: President-Shelley Simon, VP-Dave Battistel, Treasurer (acting)-Leonard Kantola, Secretary-Daryl Cano, and Director-Kyle Duckworth.
Once that important task had been completed, attention turned to the issue of society membership. While more than 60 people have signed on to join us and we have not charged anyone yet, it came to our attention that membership fees would need to be included in our constitution and by-laws. This generated a lengthy debate, but the gathering finally decided on a $10 individual and $20 family fee. These moneys will probably be collected at the next general meeting following our successful incorporation.
The meeting adjourned at close to 3 o’clock and was an unqualified success. The executive will be meeting in early January to complete and file the incorporation papers. The whole process may take anywhere from weeks to months, depending on what happens at OHS. Stay tuned for more details on the society and our projects as it becomes available.