After 25 years, the Saline Area Historical Society continues to look ahead to help the community glance into the past.
Member Mary Lirones recently updated Saline City Council on the society’s activities with the 2012 annual report.
One of the more noticeable happenings in 2012 was the painting of the Rentschler Farm Museum, which is owned by the city and operated by the society. Work to maintain and restore the house will continue in 2013, according to Lirones. New storm windows and gutters will be installed in time for the museum to celebrate its recent naming to the National Registry of Historic Places.
Another big project at the Rentschler Museum was cleaning and organizing the salvage barn. During the process, several original storm windows were found, and then painted and installed on the farm house.
Eagle Scout Alex Cyburt built a new fence on the farm’s south pasture to provide better control and safety for the animals. Eagle Scout Tyler Santos built a new visitor’s station on the farm grounds.
The society also continued to work on the Depot Museum. Workers painting the caboose at the Depot Museum discovered rotting wood damaged by a leak. The city’s insurance covered a large portion of the $10,000 repair. The society raised $2,870 in donations for the project. Painting projects will continue at the museum in 2013. The society plans to paint and repair the livery barn at a cost of about $4,200.
In 2012, the Historical Society launched a campaign to restore and record Oakwood Cemetery facts. Over the years, fallen trees and vandalism took their toll on the cemetery, knocking down and breaking tombstones. Work at the cemetery located the tombstone of Dr. Philip Draper, who died Dec. 15, 1828. Volunteers also located the tombstone of Henry Green, a War of 1812 veteran who died in 1884. Volunteers also led two cemetery tours in 2012
In 2012, the society’s antique show moved from the Washtenaw Farm Council Grounds to Liberty School. Attendance was down, but the society made about the same profit.
The historical society held seven educational programs in 2012. Among the most popular draws were the War of 1812 presentation by John Gibney and Michigan’s Back Roads by Ron Rademacher. The most attended program was the Civil War Soldiers from Saline/Cemetery Tour by Bob Lane and his team.
The society continued adding to its collections in 2012. 129 artifacts were catalogued in 2012, bringing the total to 2,868, worth approximately $163,000.
In all there were 1,858 documented visitors at the Rentschler Museum and 1,215 at the Depot. Guests included local school children, visitors from Brecon, Wales, and students from Germany.
The Saline Area Historical Society was supported by an estimated 4,544 volunteer hours in 2012. There are 208 members of the society. The society generated $1,061 in income on $28,141 in revenue. New board members elected in 2012 were Leo Babcock and Lance Holland.
Plans for 2013 include a celebration of Henry Ford’s 150th birthday on July 20 at the Rentschler Farm. The day will feature a display of antique Ford vehicles and a Henry Ford impersonator.