RBC I In spite of the cold and snow, an excellent group gathered at Kilowatt Korner in Meeker on Sunday for the Rio Blanco County Historical Society Annual Meeting.
After a luncheon of hot soups, homemade breads, salads and desserts, the annual meeting proceeded with President Ellene Meece presenting the 2013 annual report via PowerPoint with lots of photos, accomplishments and stats, which included being debt free going into the new year. This hard-earned feat was enthusiastically applauded by the members.
Other accomplishments included: maintaining the White River Museum, being open seven days a week year round (except for three holidays); attracting a growing group of volunteers who were acknowledged with an Appreciation Open House in November; continuing upgrades to the museum to protect artifacts and attract more visitors; videoing numerous oral history interviews; expanding historical education for the public through three historical presentations (Pioneer Women of RBC, Stories of the Parish and Homesteaders of RBC); partnering with MACC to bring an Abraham Lincoln re-enactor as a cultural historical event for the community and schools; and partnering with ERBM Recreation Center to provide a successful History Camp during the past summer for the children.
The committee reports covered Milk Creek Battlefield Park Committee (Joe Sullivan, Steve Wix, Tom Allen, Tony Weiss, Trudy Burri and Gayle Rogers) with Joe Sullivan present to add some history to how this venture began and its progress to date; the Rural Schools Research Committee (Martha Cole, Marge Rogers, Janet Clark, Ellen Reichert, Artie Parr, Sally Eatherton) recognized for completing five years of research, creating tour loops for 37 rural schools in Rio Blanco County, developing signage at each site with valued assistance from the county, publishing and distributing professional print products with these tours, adding information to the RBCHS website, adding Coal Creek School to the County Historic Register; and beginning the preservation process for the first school in Rio Blanco County that is still standing on its original location.
Meece presented a plaque to three members who were present, with a collage of the brochures, appreciation text and photo of the committee.
The Website Archiving Computer Committee reported the purchase of a new camera to digitally archive our collections and a new website to feature these collections, education programs, historic sites and dedicated space for each of the rural schools with maps, information and stories.
The community events RBCHS participated in this past year were Range Call with a booth, Bank Robbery Re-enactment and tour to Milk Creek; a Community Appreciation Day booth; the RBC County Fair with an education exhibit that took grand prize; the Meeker Sheep Dog Classic with a booth selling books and homemade bread; and the Mountain Valley Bank Fall Festival with a bake sale and the organization’s famous root beer floats.
The number of annual visitors this year to the White River Museum was 3,145 with 1,021 of those being students.
The election of officers and board members were voted by acclamation and the new board for 2014 is: President Ellene Meece, Vice President Gayle Rogers, Secretary Sue Hicken, Treasurer Trudy Burri, Re-elected board member Patty Anderson and newly elected board member Chad Shepherd. The remaining board members are Joe Sullivan, Tony Weiss, Hallie Blunt and Chris Uphoff.
The RBCHS thanks Sparky Pappas for her many years of being on the board and for her continued support on committees and activities into the future.
Finally, the 2014 goals were presented with the overall goal to be the No. 1 asset in our county and region. The organization plans to do this by adding the White River Museum complex to the registered historic sites, adding educational kiosks to Milk Creek Battlefield Park, digitally archiving our collections with photos and stories for the new website, editing and archiving our video oral history that has been captured, initiating themed tours and events to the museum, completing the next Lighting and Exhibit Project — Phase 3/Room 6, developing Heritage Tourism (the No. 1 economic driver in Colorado) by acquiring the adjoining 3,000 square-foot building to our property (old mortuary) for historical presentations and a research center, and participating in the Heritage Rendezvous, a Western Slope event, with an exhibit of our story of Milk Creek Battlefield Park (Feb. 14-May 3) at the Museum of the West in Grand Junction.
The final slide in the presentation read, “Thank you for joining us in this journey in 2014!”
The RBCHS invites the community to come along as well. The RBCHS offers several membership levels and each one adds an appreciated support. The new category this year is Business Patron for a $100 annual membership with acknowledgement on our website and a one-time newspaper acknowledgement.
Any donations, volunteer involvement or event participation helps us continue to be an organization dedicated to impacting the success of the Rio Blanco County — and its legacy.
By Ellene Meece
President, Rio Blanco County Historical Society