Wednesday, September 07, 2011

The Edgerton Historical Society

A couple of weeks ago Don Allison spoke at our local historical society.  Here is an article he put in the Bryan Times newspaper.  I thought it was worth blogging.  Enjoy.

The Bryan Times - September 2, 2009

On My Mind – Don Allison
Moving ahead means using
rearview mirror sometimes, too
I was feeling good about life, kicking back and enjoying my drive home on a beautiful summer evening.

It had been a long day. I was tired to the bone, but it was a good tired — I had just been a small part of something much larger than myself.

That evening I was guest speaker for the Edgerton Historical Society’s meeting. I was flattered to be invited, and excited to see what this relatively new historical group was all about.

When I saw three rows of tables and chairs already set up when I arrived at the church fellowship hall, I was somewhat taken aback. I hadn’t expected as large a crowd.

But the meeting organizers had pegged it right, as nearly all those chairs were occupied when the meeting began.

The Edgerton memorabilia brought in for display by the society’s members and guests was impressive. I was particularly excited to see discharge papers, photos and other memorabilia connected with the Civil War — the group’s focus that night, since the Civil War was the topic of my talk.

A digital slide show of Edgerton High School senior class composites was on display as guests arrived, and I enjoyed spotting people I knew among the decades-old photographs.

Darwin and Shirley Krill were the meeting’s organizers, and they went out of their way to make me feel welcome. I felt very much at home, as a number of old friends and acquaintances were there — Edgerton residents I’ve come to know through my work at The Times, or through my historical endeavors.

The Edgerton community is fortunate to have people willing to work hard to preserve the heritage of the town and outlying areas. Preserving and copying historic photographs and documents — and recording the facts and memories that go with them — is creating a priceless treasure trove.

And it’s a treasure that will be mined far into the future, by generations of Edgertonians yet unborn.

We are a society that tends to be very ignorant of our history. We are slow to learn that we can’t understand where we are — much less where we’re going — unless we’re aware of how we got here. To quote from the late philosopher George Santayana, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

 A bit of remembrance. I believe, can head off considerable condemnation.

I’ve been very fortunate over the last few decades to be a part of the Williams County Historical Society, to see knowledge, artifacts and even buildings from our past preserved.

More recently I was able to be part of the ground floor organization of the Stryker Area Heritage Council, another group that is laying away treasures for our future generations. Restoration of the Stryker railroad depot as the home for a museum is an endeavor well worth the effort by the many people involved.

I’m thankful for the chance to experience the Edgerton Historical Society firsthand. It is a group with focus and energy, and I wish them well — especially their efforts to find a building to house their own museum, a mecca for those who appreciate Edgerton’s heritage.

Don Allison is senior editor
of The Bryan Times. He can be
reached at 419-636-1111 or

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