HUNTERTOWN — Since the Huntertown Historical Society doesn’t have a physical home, residents don’t get many opportunities to explore the organization’s archives full of old photographs, newspaper articles and other donated artifacts. However, a recently completed project will give Huntertown natives and new move-ins their own glimpse into the town’s past.
“It’s a memory book for Huntertown — a community book,” Marsha Myers, of the Huntertown Historical Society, said of “Huntertown Then and Now,” a 100-page book about the town’s 150-year history.
Organization members compiled the book just in time to sell copies during this year’s Huntertown Heritage Days Festival, which begins Aug. 8. The book is a collection of memorabilia, including contributed photos and other items highlighting the schools, churches and businesses that have supported the community and helped make it what it is today, Myers said.
“We’re just trying to show the community as a whole in the last 150 years,” she said.
There are multiple pages dedicated to the mills that used to operate around Huntertown — the first sign of commerce in the area — as well as the town’s first bank and blacksmith shop. The book briefly highlights new businesses as well — “just enough to mention and show that there’s new business here, that it’s an ongoing thing and not just a town that’s sitting in the past,” Myers said.
The book also highlights transportation over the years, including the interurban railroad line that used to connect the town to cities near and far, as well as old cars and gas stations.
“That’s kind of the common thing that especially seniors around here today remember, since the gas stations and restaurants were kind of social hubs,” Myers said.
Huntertown Historical Society President Linda Schlatter completed most of the editorial work on the book during a three- to four-month period, Myers said, and other members helped with editing, scanning photos and assembling the books.
The book will also complement a Historical Society display at the Huntertown Fire Department during Heritage Days, which will share the same theme. Books will be on sale for $20, and proceeds will benefit the organization.
“Huntertown Then and Now” will be a rare glimpse into the town’s history, as the Huntertown Historical Society’s archives are currently housed in a storage facility south of town and aren’t typically available to the public.
“It would be great to have a building or a room that we could open to the public,” Myers said. “Sometimes we go out (to the storage facility) and sit around, pull things out and work there some days, but generally we do all of our work at somebody’s house because we don’t have a location. Our motto is ‘Not on our watch.’ This was a larger organization 20 years ago when it was founded, but we’re maintaining the archives and in the future it might grow, and we’re definitely going to keep it going.”
The organization was founded in 1997 and currently has four officers, in addition to a larger membership.