CHESTERVILLE — The Chesterville Heritage Society celebrated a milestone on Oct. 20 with an open house at its new headquarters in the old fire station at the town’s center.
Approximately 50 people attended the morning event, at which artifacts were displayed, refreshments were served and the Society’s sign, visible to traffic passing on Zion’s Hill Road, was unveiled to the fanfare of those assembled. Marilyn and Malcolm Turner, long-time supporters of the Heritage Society, pulled the cord freeing the sign.
Visitors were impressed not only with the significant progress that has been made in refurbishing the former fire station building, but with the extensive collection of locally relevant historical documents and artifacts the society has collected since its establishment in 1988.
The building was offered to the Heritage Society by the Town of Chesterville in 2005, following the construction in 2000 of a new fire station. Since then, the organization has worked to raise funds to address major repairs needed to make the building sound.
After receiving constructions estimates that were out of reach for a small nonprofit, the group rolled up its sleeves and took on the repairs without a contractor. Working solely with volunteers and with the aid of discounts from Hammond Lumber, donations of various kinds and the skills of the members, the building has been made suitable for housing the society’s collection. Jim Harris, a scaffolding assembly foreman by trade, supervised the majority of the construction, investing more than 600 hours of his spare time to complete the work.
“My husband is the kind who will not let something go until it is done,” said Linda Harris, president of the Chesterville Heritage Society. Indeed, the commitment seems to run in the family, judging from the hours she too has invested in the project. Many other members of the small organization have shown similar dedication over the past 20 years.
The building will be used for monthly meetings during the warmer months of the year, but will be closed this winter due to its lack of a heating system at this point. Starting in the spring, hours for viewing the collection will be announced.
For information on the Chesterville Heritage Society or how to donate items to the collection, call Linda Harris at 778-2863.