by Susan Parsons
Monthly speakers for the Sterling Historical Society produced educational and historic information along with providing entertainment to members and guests in 2018. At the April meeting, Rob and Jenny Myers discussed the history and their present business of making maple syrup and related products. They tap about 3000 trees all located in our local area in the Town of Sterling. They brought several maple items for tasting.
In May, Dan Baker recounted stories about his experiences in the Vietnam War, including becoming a 90 lb. and very ill soldier who had been listed as a MIA in the jungle. At that point he suffered from worms, bleeding ulcers, jungle rot, malnutrition and malaria. Dan discussed the tragedy of suffering from PSTD and the effects of the divisions within the USA over that War.
At the June annual banquet, George DeMass discussed the Safe Haven Holocaust Refugee Shelter and Museum, of which he is President. Around 985 European refugees were brought to Oswego in 1944 and were settled in the barracks at Fort Ontario for the duration of World War II. Later, about 825 stayed in the USA, settling along the East Coast. They were very grateful to the USA for their survival. A piece of the fence that separated them from the Oswego population now sits at the Holocaust Museum in Washington, DC.
On a rainy night in July, Dan and Ellen Killecut spoke about the history of Henry Ford, Model T’s, Model A’s, and other related companies, as well as the assembly line and cost cutting. Because of the rain, the Killecuts’ did not bring any of their eight Model T’s or 22 other cars, though they did bring memorabilia.
In August, Montezuma Historian Cheryl Longyear featured a slideshow with historical photos of part of the Erie Canal, and the modern Montezuma Heritage Park, which incorporates a part of the old Canal. She included photos of an old lock, the canal at Montezuma and what is left of the aqueduct in Montezuma.
The annual picnic was held at Gus Taft’s cottage in North Fair Haven in September. Gus and Susie Parsons presented a slide show, maps and information about the history of the area, including the piers, harbor, old ships and shipping, railroad structures and trains, cottages and the State Park.
The October meeting brought Jim Farfaglia back to the museum to discuss his newest book on the History of Nestles in Fulton. He told the group why the Swiss company located there, how the smell of chocolate predicted the weather, and how its closing affected the City of Fulton. He offered Nestles candy and showed some Nestle-related items.
Seven new topics will be presented in 2019.
We hope to see you there!