Society celebrates 45 years of history preservation

Published 4:48 pm Monday, October 26, 2009

It began 45 years ago with a dessert tea at Moody’s Steak House in Greenville.

Four-and-a-half decades later, the Butler County Historical and Genealogical Society (BCHGS) celebrated their efforts to collect, preserve and publish the history of Butler County and its people.

Members and guests gathered at The Chef’s Table downtown for a 45th Anniversary Luncheon on Sunday.

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President Barbara Middleton unveiled a new plaque to be placed in the library honoring “all those who have made significant monetary contributions allowing our library to stay open,” adding, “There is plenty of room for more names.”

Several speakers shared their own familial ties to the pioneer days of the county and a number of volunteers were lauded for their contributions, from donating research materials, to manning the BCHGS Room inside the library and maintaining the many records found within.

Middleton explained the BCHGS had no permanent home until 1982, when it moved into City Hall. Later the Society moved to the old city library on Adams Street downtown.

Fundraisers and generous donors allowed the BCHGS to relocate to its current home, the Greenville-Butler County Public Library on Fort Dale Road.

“But we still needed furniture and other needs . . . we had yard sales, anything you could think of to raise $5,000. Then we raised another $7,500 for microfilm readers and printers,” Middleton said.

By 2001, the Society was able to obtain its own computers, a direct telephone line, copying machine and began to erect historical markers around the county.

Representative Charles Newton, who assisted the organization with completing its wish list of needs, said he had learned a great deal from the Society quarterlies.

“I did a little genealogical research a few years back, and I couldn’t have done it without the help of the historical society,” Newton said.

“We can learn about our future as we discover our past through your work.”

Several individuals and families who have volunteered their time, talent and love of history to the organization were presented with fall floral arrangements in goblets and teacups – a reminder of the dessert tea that started it all off in 1964 in a steakhouse in the Camellia City.