POLAND – The Polish Historical Society is slowing down but is eagerly awaiting a return to normal after a year that has canceled most of its programming.
âWe are certainly happy to meet again in person,â said Dave Smith, PHS administrator and local historian.
He said 2020 was a tough year for the company.
Still, “we were still able to meet pretty much some of them, and we produced a virtual walking tour of historic South Main Street for our third graders and Riverside Cemetery,” he said.
Polish third-graders didn’t have to rely on videos to find out more about their hometown last month. The Historical Society was able to organize a walking tour outside, featuring many historical places and portraits of people who helped build Poland in its early days. Members of the society wore masks for presentations.
Smith was one of four PHS members who led a class at the various stops on the tour. He was joined by Larry Baughman, Larry Bartos and Company President Laurie Fox.
Members Joyce Noble as Mary Kirtland Hall at the 1819 Hall-Truesdale house participated in the tour; Debbie Gilbert as Lydia Kirtland Fowler at the Old Stone Tavern in 1804; Chuck Gilbert as Robert Walker at Walker House in 1876; Regina Rees as Mary McKinley May in the Village Pantry in 1845; Frank Mazzarino as William Augdon in the Sweeney Augdon House of 1840; Ginny Meloy as Martha Arrel at the 1876 Walter Arrel House, now known as the Inn at the Green; and Linda DeLost as Mary “Polly” Potter Kirtland at the Turhand Kirtland House in the 1850s.
âDuring the third year tour, we had about 125 students,â Fox said. âWe held meetings in April and May for administrators only, i.e. 14 people, in the administrative meeting room of the Canton of Poland, which gave us more space to maintain a distance from each other. with the others. Our June meeting is open to all members and will be held outside.
This meeting will be held Tuesday at 6 p.m. at the Oak Grove Township Park Pavilion on Moore Road. If the weather is bad, the meeting will be moved to the Little Red Schoolhouse, 4515 Center Road (intersection of US Route 224 and Struthers Road) in the township.
One of the company’s regular monthly programs involved bringing in a variety of guest speakers for each monthly meeting. As of January 2020, the company had a list of guest speakers for most of the year, but the lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic canceled all of those speakers and meetings for the year.
âWe don’t have any guest speakers yet (for 2021),â Fox said. âUsually we don’t have programs in the summer and we don’t meet in July. Our first meeting with a program will be in September when the program will be presented by members who will talk about the Little Red School and the content inside the museum. We thought it would be a good way to welcome people back.
She said the programs committee will be working on speakers for October and November.
“As we work to finish this year, we will begin to schedule programs for 2022, many of which will be the ones we had planned for 2020 but which were canceled along with everything else that year.”
For the summer, the PHS is working on a few projects.
It will offer tours of South Main Street, tours of Riverside Cemetery and tours of Presbyterian cemeteries at various times throughout the summer and fall. The unveiling of the new historic South Main Street landmark followed by a walking tour is being planned, but the date has not been set with certainty. Fox said the hope is to have it on July 6.
âThe tours will feature reenactments at various homes and businesses along South Main Street,â Fox said. “Reenactments will also be part of the cemetery tours, and we will be accepting donations as a fundraiser.”
Also in the planning stages is a big summer event.
Fox said from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on July 24 at Poland Township Park, PHS and Poland Township are working together to celebrate the 225th anniversary of the placement of the first marker in the Western Connecticut Reservation establishing the Township of Poland as ville 1, rang 1. The surveyors posted on July 23, 1796.
âWe will have a new historical marker that will be placed in the park to commemorate this historic event,â Fox said. âOur program will include a re-enactment of the event and we will have people dressed for this time. The day is meant to be a celebration for a fun afternoon with the family.
âWe are still working on some details, but we are planning to have a flag ceremony and a historic program; vehicles of the municipal police, firefighters and ambulances on display; the historical society and the township will have exhibition tents; music by a DJ all day; and the food. Lots of other fun activities are still being discussed and we should have things finalized in a few weeks. We look forward to continuing to expand our programs and activities for the public this fall and into 2022. â