GALLIPOLIS — Approaching a year in August at its new location on 340 Second Avenue, the Gallia Historical Society is looking to revamp itself, attract new volunteers and pull grants together so that the society’s future can continue to meet and serve the present with Gallia’s past.
Gallia Historical Society Co-Chair Cheryl Enyart says her colleague and co-chair, Jennifer Blake, has experience with grant writing and the pair are looking to continue the mission of cataloguing Gallia history along with helping others research it. Enyart said she was enthusiastic about the society’s future despite the work ahead of it when visiting with individuals who stopped by during First Friday events last week.
“Most of the time we’re here together,” said Enyart. “When one of our area journalists died, my dad (Dick Thomas), he had cut out all the news columns of James Porter, of Hobart Wilson (Jr.), Harry Hurn and a lot of Jim Sands. We already had a lot of his…They’re all here and they’ve been laying here quite a while.”
Among her work cataloguing and indexing the articles, she said she would like to organize her father Thomas’ work into a book called “A Hundred Years ago on the River,” a play on his column titled “Fifty Years Ago on the River” in the Tribune. She said her father always wanted to write a book.
“If you open the pages of the Gallipolis Daily Tribune, you’ll find a book written one column at a time,” said Enyart of her father’s work and the community’s history. “That’s true of a lot of the journalists who have come through.”
“The other night (First Friday) it was something to see people come through and say ‘you’ve got this and you’ve got that,’” said Enyart. “We’ve got yearbooks. We’ve got lots of just historic things that people don’t really realize there is still a copy of. We’ve got a lot more. We just can’t get it on the shelf yet.”
Among activities Enyart would like to see the society host would be to invite school children to learn more about the area’s history or encourage residents to seek out a past Gallia resident’s grave and research that individual, then engage in a public monologue as that individual in an exhibition.
The society has collected thousands of newspaper clippings as well as text regarding the development of Gallia County and its families. Hunting down a piece of information about the origin of the Kerr Memorial Fountain in City Park or the gradual evolution of City Park’s usage is made possible though the collecting of articles like those written by past newspaper contributor Jim Sands. The historical society was first formed in 1933. Records of weddings and more are available at the society with some dating back as far as the late 1800s.
“It’s our job and purpose to tie our history to us,” said Enyart. “We’re the tie that binds to the future. We need volunteers and people to know we’re here. My father said ‘If you don’t know anything about where you live, you can’t understand the world.’”
More can be learned at the Gallia County Historical Society Facebook page.
Dean Wright can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2103.