The Heritage Corner, Springhill Record

Oct. 17, 2007

Oct. 17, 2007 – Springhill Heritage Group

On February 4th, 1987 a group of Springhill citizens got together to see what they could do to preserve the history of the town as a lot of the original pictures, files, papers, etc. were lost during the fires of 1957 and 1975. Those attending the first meeting were: Rhoda Farnell, Ruth Leadbetter, Harold and Muriel Nelson, Gwen Layton, Bertha Campbell, Carl Demings and Audrey Rae.

The Board of Directors was Bertha Campbell, Rhoda Farnell, Gwen Layton, Harold Nelson, Kathryn Ward, Arthur Murray, Ruth Leadbetter, Carl Demings, Audrey Rae and Doug Rae.

Carl Demings was elected President and Audrey Ryan became Secretary. No Treasurer elected at that time but at the next meeting Arthur Murray was elected to serve as Treasurer.

Meetings were to be held every 2 nd and 4 th Tuesday of the Month usually at the home of Rhoda Farnell.

Others who joined the first year were Doug Fletcher, Evelyn Canning, Mary Willa Littler and Dr. Ian and Norma Paul.

They started with members bringing in old pictures of the town that they had, borrowing pictures from other people and sometimes the members would drive around and Doug Rae would take pictures that were needed. They started organizing pictures and getting information for Bertha Campbell’s forth coming book. The group tried to find pictures taken by Watson Weaver but had no luck in getting them. They also decided to try and get a complete set of Jean Heffernan’s writings.

The Group was asked by the Federal Government to take part in the researching and recording of Historical Buildings in Springhill.

Isabel Simpson came one of the meetings and was very impressed with what the group was doing and decided to join.

The first major project for the group was the publishing of Bertha Campbell’s book, “Springhill, Our Goodly Heritage”.

In September 1989 they received Certification of Incorporation for the Society and became The Springhill Heritage Group.

With the death of Arthur Murray in 1990, the position of Treasurer was taken over by Muriel Nelson, which she held until 1995. The position is now held by Norma Reynolds.

In 1990 the Springhill Heritage Group started putting on displays in the Springhill Library, the first one being “A Victorian Christmas”. This practice has been going on ever since with displays also being put up at other times during the year.

In order to get information about things gone by the group interviewed many different people such as: Harold Nelson, Bill Blenkhorn and Doug Rae. They also interviewed, Emma Fowler, Olive Hunter, Ethel Laurie and Laura Coleman, nurses who had attended the Nurses Training School at the Springhill Cottage Hospital. Others interviewed were Lawson Fowler, Neil Ross and Ackie Allbon, members of the Fencebusters and Dutchie Merritt. Springhill Teachers Evelyn Leadbetter, Grace Gilroy, Peggy Davidson and Beverly Emberly, were also interviewed.

The Springhill Heritage Group was recognized as Volunteers of 1991.

Terry Lea Eason worked on a brochure for a self conducting tour of the historical sites of Springhill. Terry Lea and Mary Willa Littler compiled a list of Springhill nicknames with over 500 entries.

On May 18, 1993 the Springhill Heritage Group launched its second book “Recollections of a Nova Scotia Town” a compilation of the writings by Jean Heffernan.

The group is continuing to collect poems written by Danny Boutilier and Verna Jean Fisher.

The group had found a meeting place in the St. Andrews Wesley United Church but had no place to store information that was being collected and the books that were published. In January 1997 they were given permission to use a small part of the Miners Hall for storage. In that year they also started doing genealogy work with the Research of Irish Families in Springhill and surrounding areas for the Irish Festival. Today genealogy remains a part of the group with request coming in weekly, from all over Canada, United States and abroad, asking for information on a Springhill ancestor.

In 1999 a Thank You from the House of Assembly was sent to the Springhill Heritage Group for the work it does in “enriching the culture life and increasing the knowledge of our Heritage”.

By 2000 the group began using the lower level of the Miners Hall for their meetings.

A newsletter was started in 2002 by Carl Demings and was later taken over by Pat Crowe.

The group has supplied historical facts for the GOVRC Calendar and assisted elementary schools with its website and book. Has held a Pioneer Day, Genealogy Day, Museum Day in which school students are invited to attend.

Also, in 2000, the group published the “Moss Diary” and C.D and in 2004 “Vital Statistics of Springhill and Area”. In 2005 indexes were done for “Springhill Our Goodly Heritage and “Recollections of a Nova Scotia Town” and in 2006 reproduced “Miracle Town” by James B. Brown.

The Heritage Corner was started in October of 2005.

In the fall of 2006 the group started work on getting a kiosk set up on the site below the Miners Monument. This was completed last week.

The Springhill Heritage Group, which is celebrating its 20 th year, is continuing to work on different projects to keep the history of Springhill alive so that those growing up now will have a chance to learn what went on before them. Since the fire in the Miners Hall the group has no permanent place to meet and is at this time looking for a place in which to hold meetings, store our artefacts and put on displays. In the meantime they meet every 1 st and 3 rd Tuesday of the month at 1:30 p.m. in the Senior Citizens building. The Springhill Heritage Group is always looking for new members who are interested in the history of our town.