www.mybaycity.com November 21, 2006
Rotary Article 1376

Historians Speak to Club

November 21, 2006
By: Stephen Kent

Visit RotaryBayCity.org, web site of the Rotary Club of Bay City, Michigan

  • Club Web site committee reports that the Club's new site is beginning to take shape. Ideas and comments are welcome! Visit our new web site and pass along suggestions to Stephen Kent or Gena Gates: www.RotaryBayCity.org

  • Golf Outing Committee looking for a co-chair to assist Brian Kay then move into the chair in a year or so.

  • Vocational Days Committee is planning this year's event and needs companies to host students. Contact Ralph Knopp.

  • Dee Dee Wacksman reported on a recent visit to a Rotary club in Las Vegas where she met past International President Frank Devlyn who gave her three of his "Frank Talk" books about Rotary. Dee Dee said they're good reading and available to club members. She also reported that the meal cost was FORTY DOLLARS!

  • NEWEST ROTARIANS: Kevin Ayala, Kelly Frick, Sarah Delehanty.

  • PROPOSED NEW MEMBERS: Kathy Dwyer, Jennifer Carroll.

    Upcoming Meetings
  • November 28, 2006 Club Assembly to discuss international projects.

  • December 26, 2006 NO MEETING the day after Christmas. Happy Holidays!

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    Last Weeks program - November 21, 2006 - Three Five Minute Historians Speak to Club

    Member and local historian Eric Jylha introduced the days program and the first speaker Ron Bloomfield, Curator and Facility Manager of the Bay County Historical Society and Museum. Bloomfield reported on a number of projects at the Museum including:

  • The Captain Benjamin Boutell maritime art collection. This exhibit includes a number of large paintings commissioned by Capt. Boutell around 1880 to 1890. The collection will be on display until next year when it will rotate out.

  • In September the Society held its 16th annual River of Time encampment in Vet's park. At the same time the Society hosted the 132nd annual meeting of the Michigan State Historical Society. Over 200 historians assembled at the Doubletree Convention Center. The last time the group was in bay city was 1957 when they were at the famous Wenona Hotel.

  • The annual Tour of Homes was held on October 8th. Over 800 tickets were sold to this event and fund raiser.

  • The Society received a Michigan Museum Association award for the recently completed Bay County Trails Through Time exhibit and gallery at the Museum.

  • The Society held its first annual Appraisal event at the Museum on November 4th. Over 300 tickets were sold and the very positive response should insure that the event will be repeated.

  • A new series called Second Saturday completed its first year in November. The series of programs on a variety of topics was a great success with an average attendance of 50 people, half of which had never been to the Museum before. The second season will kick off in January.

  • The Trombly House, the first frame structure in Bay City, will be decorated for Christmas and opened on Fridays through Christmas.

  • Fun for kids returns with the Breakfast With Santa series. Seating is limited so call the Museum for information.

    Two future projects were also previewed. The Society plans to open a small movie theater in the Museum to show historical videos and movies. On March 10th the group will hold a Historic Dinner fund raiser featuring Dixie Dave who will base the menu on recipes from the Myra Parsons Diary.

    Following Bloomfield, Rotarian Dave Rogers took over and talked about the success of sailing excursions, Ghost Tours and other historic tours held in town. He said these are very popular with both locals and visitors and they offer a great deal of potential for bringing visitors to Bay City. A group of researchers are continuously at work in the Museum digging up facts and stories to support these excursions.

    Rogers went on to relate some of the more notorious lore of the area including the way that Bonnie and Clyde's final days had a connection to the area. It seems that two of their gang were in Midland to rob the Chemical Bank of Dow's $75,000 cash payroll that arrived every two weeks. The men were captured and sent back to Texas where Bonnie and Clyde broke them out and made a run which ended in their deaths.

    The story went on to relate the stories of vigilantes, the banker with the deer rifle who shot the driver of a get away vehicle, the story of a famous trial with men in clanking chains, the hanging judge who hired the professional hangman who happened to be a farmer but who got drunk which caused another hangman to be used, etc, etc. etc. It was easy to see why the history tours are so popular.

    The program was concluded by Jyhla who related various facts about the history of our Thanksgiving celebration. The first being a three day celebration in 1622 attended by 56 settlers and 91 Indians. The meals were cooked by four women and two girls. A detailed record of the menu and activities has been preserved and shows that the meal included guinea foul but no turkey. Interestingly, the Indians brought popped corn. There were running and jumping competitions along with shooting and archery contests.

    After that first celebration, the day was not recognized again until 1777. In 1789 President Washington proclaimed a Day of Thanksgiving which was not popular with other politicians and was later overturned by Jefferson.

    In the 1800s a long campaign in the Boston Ladies Magazine fought to restore the holiday. In 1863, three weeks after Gettysburg, Lincoln proclaimed the day to be celebrated on the 4th Thursday of November and the modern era dawned.

    In 1937 FDR was lobbied by merchants to move the holiday to the 3rd Thursday. He did this but the move proved very unpopular and most of the nation continued to celebrate the 4th Thursday. In 1941 FDR apologized and moved the date back to the original 4th Thursday. The Merchants were not happy but made do by coming up with discounts to keep the shoppers coming in.

    RotaryBayCity.org Rotary Club of Bay City Web Site

    eClub-One: Members with internet connections are encouragedto visit eClub-One monthly for a makeup. To get makeup credit you need to fill out the makeup form on that site. Print the acknowledgement for you receive and turn it in to receive credit. Be sure to enter our club's district number (6310) on that form.
    Click this link to open eClubOne in a new window: www.rotaryeclubone.org.

    The Bay City Rotary Club meets at Noon each Tuesday at the Lumber Barons resturant on the West Side.

    Rotary Club of Bay City Web Site

    District 6310 meeting schedule

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