As the Nugget went to press we received word the last founding member of the FCHS, Richard M. Slagle, had passed away at the age of 101. Dick was Ferry County’s memory and the community will be at a loss for first-hand historical knowledge without him. We will try to fill the gap with the historical society, museum and collection he helped to start.

Attention New Members!

If you paid for a membership in response to the recent membership drive in late 2020 you are paid up for 2021. Please see Oops! below.

Oops! We Apologize

The recent FCHS membership renewal letter included two inaccurate items. We apologize for the confusion and will attempt to clear it up with the following corrections:

The request for membership renewal payments in the recent letter was not intended for the new members who joined due to the membership drive late in 2020. These new memberships are current through 2021. Life members are paid up permanently.

The information on our application for a Heritage Capital Projects Grant stated that the grant was “awarded”. This should have read that our application has been “approved”. This means that we have been O.K.d for funding but the actual award will not happen until Washington State’s capital budget is approved, probably no sooner than June or July. Our project, the rehabilitation of the L.H. Mason Building, was ranked 26 in a field of 36 proposed projects state wide. Considering the fact that the competition included such prominent institutions as the Museum of Flight, Historic Seattle and the Center for Wooden Boats, we did very well.

Board Members Needed

Members who are interested in helping to steer the FCHS on a course for the 21st century are encouraged to apply for positions on the Board of Trustees. We could be more active in heritage tourism and local events if more people were involved.

Membership Drive Succeeds

The membership drive initiated by the FCHS Board of Trustees in November 2020 has been an outstanding success. Invitations for membership were mailed in early December and by January 31st we had 65 new members with responses still
arriving. A hearty welcome and a thank you to all new members!

The invitations also offered opportunities to donate to FCHS and to “Buy A Brick” to memorialized families, loved ones or anything else worth memorializing. As of January 31st funds raised by combined membership dues, donations and Buy a Brick purchases totaled $5,569.58. Thanks to all who participated!

L.H. Mason Work Continues

When the weather warms up a little work will resume on the interior of the L. H. Mason Building. This will include removal of the old plank floor and adding footings to the supporting columns. VOLUNTEERS ARE NEEDED!

The L.H. Mason Building with the “Future Home of the FCHS Museum” sign in place. Photo by Mary Masingale.
The L.H. Mason Building with the “FutureHome of the FCHS Museum” sign in place.
Photo by Mary Masingale.

New Website

The historic photo below is the background to the first page of the FCHS’s new website.

The Website committee, chaired by Eric Hulse, co-chaired by Jayne Jurgensen and including Travis Wellman and Madilane Perry, worked with Web Radish’s Designer, Arista Hageman, a former local resident, to create our new look.

After much editing, rewriting, proofreading and testing, the site went live to the public on December 1st. Since then 373 people have browsed our pages. We now have a “Shop” feature which enables purchase of some of the photographs from our collection and our booklet “Eureka”, a history of local gold mining written by past FCHS president Mary Warring. Watch this page for new items.

The website also allows folks to “Support Us” by becoming members, automatically renewing membership annually, making donations to either the Historical Society generally or the L.H. Mason rehabilitation project or to “Buy A Brick” to support the L.H. Mason project. All financial transactions are processed through PayPal for ease and safety.

Looking Ahead

Before the Corona virus precautions are finally relaxed enough to permit museums to function we have work to do and there’s plenty to go around. The Whittaker/Fletcher House, home of our present museum, needs to be cleaned and adjustments will have to be made to permit some changes in operations.

In the next couple of years we will be losing our long-time “housemate”, the Stonerose Fossil Interpretive Center. Stonerose will be moving to its new home on the main street. This affects our operations because for the past few years Stonerose has been controlling the visitor traffic through our museum. We will be going back to our original plan of staffing the museum. To do this WE NEED VOLUNTEERS!

The volunteers’ job is primarily as a greeter, guide and answerer of questions. No deep knowledge of local history is needed, since many of the questions involve advice on where to eat, drink, swim, fish, get ice cream, etc. There will be more on volunteer opportunities in the Spring Nugget.

Other challenges to be addressed this year are long-deferred maintenance issues at the Kauffman Cabin and the Whittaker/Fletcher House and finding a place to house the part of our collection now stored in the old Masonic Hall above the Republic Drugstore.

In selling the drugstore to the Hospital District, FCHS life members Rob and Patty Slagle arranged for a year’s grace in removing the historic items from the Hall. Some of it is delicate material including photographs, documents and the hardcopy editions of the News-Miner and other early papers that require dry, secure storage. The Board welcomes suggestions on where to store these important historic materials.

These plaques, displayed in the window of the L. H. Mason Building, record the names of the first participants in the
Buy A Brick program. More will be added later.
Photo by Jayne Jurgensen.
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