Many organizations feature guest speakers at their meetings, but few develop the buzz around town like that being generated by the monthly local history presentations put on by the Town of Lloyd Historical Preservation Society (TOLHPS) on the first Monday of every month.
“We’re getting between 65 and 120 people at our meetings,” says Vivian Wadlin, Preservation Society board member and program coordinator. “It’s probably the most well-attended thing in Ulster County as far as a regularly-scheduled event.”
But attendees from the general public need have no fear that they’ll be sitting through a long, dry organizational meeting before the heart of the matter is arrived at; according to Wadlin, the group dispenses with any necessary business at the meeting “in two minutes” and gets right to the program.
The presentations cover a wide range of topics pertinent to the history of the Town of Lloyd and the Hudson Valley.
Topics covered in past programs included the Half Moon sailing ship and its replica, the Merchant Marines and their contributions to World War II, Mohonk Mountain House and Preserve and the region’s past bluestone industry.
Wadlin says that one of the most popular programs is the annual antiques appraisal event. It’s become so popular, she adds, that even though the monthly presentations are always free of charge to attend (and include free refreshments), the Preservation Society may add a nominal fee for each appraisal next time so as to accommodate everyone who brings an item. A date for the next “Trash or Treasure?” event has not yet been set.
December’s presentation will be “Wicked Ulster” on Monday, Dec. 2 at 7:30 p.m. Guest speakers are Elizabeth Werlau and Adam Schenkman, co-authors of Murder and Mayhem in Ulster County. Schenkman is also author of Wicked Ulster County: Tales of Desperadoes, Gangs and More. The authors will give a talk and answer questions followed by a book signing.
The presenters are paid a stipend of $100 to appear and are encouraged to sell their books, if they have any, after the event, says Wadlin. The Preservation Society sells their own books at the programs, too; local history books that they own the rights to.
Presenters for 2014 will include Frank Almquist of the Kaaterskill Postcard Club, who will utilize vintage postcards to talk about the Ashokan Reservoir; authors Barbara and Wes Gottlock, who spoke last year about their book, Lost Amusement Parks of the Hudson Valley, and will return this time to speak on their Lost Towns of the Hudson Valley; and Anthony Musso, presenting “Setting the Record Straight,” about 1950s musical groups. (The latter is a bit far afield in terms of historical reference to our region, admits Wadlin, but when Musso, author of Hidden Treasures of the Hudson Valley presented last year on that topic, his mention of doing this program earned him an invite back.)
The only presentation for next year with a definite date attached (so far) is that of Dr. Harry Stoneback, professor at SUNY New Paltz and an expert on Faulkner and Hemingway, who will present on Monday, April 7 at 7:30 p.m.
Upcoming events are posted on the Town of Lloyd Historical Preservation Society website (www.tolhps.org) and on their Facebook page. Wadlin also maintains an e-mail list of some 250 people that she refers to as “the history buff list,” who receive notice about the programs coming up “and anything else I find out about an event or program of interest,” she says.