According to Bill Lee, Chairman of the Holmes County Historical Society, the Air Conditioning unit has “bit the dust.” Actually, there is a remote possibility of repair with a new condenser or whatever that part is, but at a cost of over 600 dollars (which the society doesn’t have). With a thirty or thirty-five or older unit, spending any amount on it is not feasible. If a used unit were available, that could possibly solve the problem. Has anyone replaced a used unit due to building modifications that might be donated or sold at a reasonable price? If not, we are left with the need to invest in a new unit.
The wood frame building with the wide front porch, located on West Tracy Street, was donated to the Society by the Bud Owens family in January of 1999 and was delivered to its present location by Cecil Ray Jones and Jacky Jones. The house, typical of homes of that day, was built in 1901 of pine lumber and is not painted. It houses the part of the museum that depicts how homes of that era were equipped. It shows a fireplace for cooking, though a wood burning stove would be typical of that time period. It sits on property owned by the Holmes County School Board where the two-story McKinnon house was moved at one time. (That whole property including the old Middle School/High School site contained the McKinnon dairy.)
A mobile home was then attached to the back porch of the house and a side porch on the east of the building is used as a main entrance to the building. An exhibit on the turpentining or naval stores industry donated and maintained by the family occupies most of that enclosed attached area which I assume was the back porch of the Owens home. That area also contains a fairly good display of farm implements of the 1920’s.
The first room of the attached building has a train exhibit donated and maintained by the Roberts family. Memorabilia from Dr. Paul’s Hospital occupies a part of that building. Other cases contain objects of interest from Downtown Bonifay Businesses such as the Eureka Hotel.
There are many things that have been donated which can be displayed more favorably. A lot of organization needs to be done. For example, dividing the adequate space into sections of the county for displays of that area. (Bethlehem, New Hope, Leonia, Ponce de Leon, Poplar Springs, Sweet Gum Head, Etc. )
A genealogy section is also needed. Vernon and Chipley’s museums have genealogy files. Vernon’s is quite complete, thanks to Steve Simmons, a late Vernon High School teacher who collected and compiled many family records as he taught in the system.
One of the greatest things Holmes County Historical Society has done is the publication of The Heritage History of Holmes County released in 2006 and now out of print. Why was a copy not retained for the museum? Well perhaps it was, but has disappeared. That is a good history of families in the county, but only those families who took the time to submit their family’s story. Copies of the Cemetery Census completed in 1990 by James Williams and Lonnie Segers are available for sale at the museum as are copies of Heart and History of Holmes County by Anna Padgett Wells and some of E.W. Carswell’s smaller publications. There is no copy of his Homesteading, however, the most complete published history of the county. It is not a book of genealogy.
But back to my original topic: the need for a new air conditioning unit. We have had one offer of a generous donation. I just purchased a new unit last year, and it will take about 28 donors at $500 apiece to pay for one the size of mine. We will accept all donations. Bill Lee’s email address is [email protected]. Mine is [email protected]. Klaus Dittus volunteers at the museum frequently and will gladly accept your donation. Dan Smith is feeling much better following his recent serious illness and he will also accept your donation and any of us will gladly deposit your donation into the Holmes County Historical
Society account at First Federal Bank of Bonifay. Or you may deposit it there yourself.
Someone suggested a fundraiser and that is a good suggestion. Come forward with your ideas and your list of volunteers that will help. It is a good method of raising money. Remember Relay For Life. The operative word for Fund Raisers is Volunteers so we must have your help if we raise the kind of money required to replace the aging (or aged) item. Contact any of the above named people if you are willing to help with this daunting task.