The Bladen County Historical Society, pretty much defunct for more than two years now, is looking to make a fresh start.
Lewis Smith, a local historian in Elizabethtown and former member and officer in the organization, is spearheading the effort to rekindle the group — but right now, the most needed commodity is people.
The organization has a checkered, complicated past, but we won’t dredge up all of the sordid details and missteps. For now, it is important to focus on the positives of recreating a historical society in the county.
There are two other historical groups in Bladen County — one associated with Harmony Hall Plantation in White Oak and the other is the group associated with the Bladenboro Historical Building. If there were a blueprint to follow for the re-organizing Bladen County Historical Society, it would be that of the Bladenboro group.
Bladen County needs and deserves a historical society. There’s just far too much rich history here — from the county’s settlement to the Revolutionary War to the Civil War and beyond — and this county needs to take advantage of it to give a boost not only to tourism but to enhance the history lessons of students, scouts and others.
Smith will hold the meeting on Thursday, Feb. 1, at 7 p.m. at the main branch of the Bladen County Public Library. We hope many who may want to become members of the new group will attend — and nominations for officers will be taken. We hope the new membership will take a strong position to establish a mission statement that focuses on highlighting the county’s history and historical sites, as well as sees participating in local festivals and events as paramount to publicizing its existence and garnering potential members.
What the new group should not be is what it used to be — little more than an organization set up to sell historical books with no interest in places like Harmony Hall, Tory Hole, Bladenboro Historical Building and others. But that will be decided by the group that collects at the library on Feb. 1.
Done right, with strong leadership and a clear vision of where it wants to go, the new Bladen County Historical Society could be a tremendous asset — to Bladen County and local municipal government, the Elizabethtown-White Lake Chamber of Commerce and the community as a whole.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“I always like to look on the optimistic side of life, but I am realistic enough to know that life is a complex matter.” (Walt Disney)