Volunteers make up the core of all happenings at Pioneer Town in Cedaredge. It's been that way since its beginning back in 1980 when Maynard Nelson took the reins and worked with a group that had tried to get a historical society and museum started following the Centennial Bicentennial celebration in 1976.
Maynard Nelson made it happen!
Later Mary Kiser commented, "As far as I'm concerned he (Nelson) is the 'father" of Pioneer Town. We wouldn't be here without him! He was the promoter, able to meet people, get things accomplished, and he had confidence in the project. Without his direction we would have had some little mediocre something, stuck somewhere."
Surface Creek Valley Historical Society was formed with volunteers serving as board members. Those first officers were president Maynard Nelson, trustee and chairman of the bylaws committee Dode Peterson, secretary Mary Kiser, vice president Jack MacAdams, and treasurer Doris Stewart.
Board members continue to volunteer their time and talents. They meet once a month to handle all issues pertaining to the society and the extended museum, now consisting of 23 buildings and exhibits.
Gini Mosley lines up Welcome Center volunteers for the summer season. Volunteers meet and greet visitors, offer information and handouts about the museum and the surrounding areas, collect fees from those who are touring the town, and sell books and other items available in the Welcome Center.
Rovers are also volunteers. They are usually found roving throughout the town, offering information and answering questions. Other volunteers can be found at the chapel, Indian museum, and Doris' Doll and Toy shop. A 'smithy' fires up the forge in the blacksmith shop when available. The 'Tuesday morning crew,' a group of dedicated men arrive regularly to do whatever needs to be done to maintain the buildings.
Charlie Baker has been diligent in providing park like surroundings for Pioneer Town with help from the correction facility crews. The landscaping efforts of Baker and volunteers have resulted in an arboretum with a wide variety of trees and shrubs for the enjoyment of visitors and identified to inform the public about the types of trees that grow well in the area.
The Chapel of the Cross, a gift from Don and Inez Peterson, relies on volunteers to keep the building open. A chapel committee schedules an outstanding summer musical series as well as special programs throughout the year.
Alan Albert and his wife have been involved with many aspects of Pioneer Town and the society since near the beginning of the project. They volunteer "because it needs to be done! It takes a lot of time and a lot of people."
Peggy Baxter reminds us, "There are a wide variety of jobs that need to be done. Though it would be great if a person wants to join the society, that would be great, but it isn't necessary in order to volunteer. You don't have to be born here or raised here. If you love the area and want to help preserve the area's history, there is a way to help."
Over the years, the "construction bunch" — a group of men from the community — moved, reconstructed, and renovated the old donated buildings as they became available. When new buildings were constructed, they were built to blend with the old.
Volunteers sorted, cleaned and displayed donated items to make all of the buildings complete on the inside. Other volunteers took responsibility for furnishing many of the buildings, and identified and labeling items where needed.
Volunteers worked for nearly a month preparing the Stolte Shed to be moved from north of Cedaredge. The building was reassembled, renovated with restrooms, kitchen and a large meeting room. Upstairs displays are of fruit packing equipment. Lillian Minor was responsible for contracting the renovation with Jim Penick as co-chairman. Both supervised 150-plus volunteers during the project.
Doris Stewart persevered in getting the Doll and Toy House built. She donated funds raised from her craft projects, and found other ways to raise funds. Dedicated volunteers helped build, stock, and inventory the contents.
Due to Margaret and Phil Ellsworth's efforts the archives have files of photos, articles, and other materials that can be used to research information about the area, saved for future generations. Margaret and Mary Kiser took on the project of instituting the proper methods of organizing and cataloging acquisitions about 12 years ago. Other volunteers have been continuing to document these treasures since Margaret's death.
It would be near impossible to list all of the volunteers serving Surface Creek Valley Historical Society's Pioneer Town over the past 31 years. It is important to realize that other than grants (written by volunteers) the entire set-up has been, and is currently run, by volunteers. Funds to pay for services needed and maintenance costs are paid by fund raising events chaired by volunteers. These men and women have shared their talents and exceeded the original goal of forming a society and providing a few buildings to serve as a museum.
Though it sounds as though the museum has plenty of help, it's an ongoing challenge to fill the empty slots in many areas. Gini Moseley at 856-2376 will help find the right spot for anyone, man, woman or teenager, who has a few hours once a week or anyone who would like to help out at any of the special events.
blog comments powered by Disqus