Updated: May 25
As it has been for all of us, 2020 was a difficult and challenging year for the Pittsylvania Historical Society. We began the year optimistically. The January membership meeting featured Bill Black’s interesting and well-attended presentation about the history of Chatham Hall. We announced our first Heritage Day event, scheduling it for the first Saturday in October, and we began planning for a fun membership event to be held at Yates Tavern in July. Then Covid 19 came along and wrecked all our plans. We found it necessary to cancel not only the Heritage Day event, but all three of our remaining quarterly membership meetings as well. Nevertheless, the Board remained busy. We conducted all of our Board meetings, using Zoom until we were able to gather again in person. Some of our most significant accomplishments of the year are:
· We created a new Facebook page and email account, to improve communication with members and the general public.
· We made significant progress on the Heritage Museum in the Ennis Building, thanks to the efforts of Langhorne Jones.
· Thanks to the efforts of Glenn Giles, we have made great progress in building out the space that will hold the Veteran’s Exhibit.
· We worked with the Danville Museum, Chatham First, supporting their efforts to secure a temporary Smithsonian exhibit in Chatham on the history of rural life. The exhibit will be on display in Chatham next year.
· We established internet connectivity between the Library History Center and the Ennis Building.
· We have improved our marketing of PHS books and ornaments, including making them available for purchase by mail.
· Thanks to the efforts of Wanda Gammon and contributing writers, we were able to publish and mail out the Packet, our quarterly newsletter/journal.
· We added Pittyslvania County Library Director Lisa Tuite to the Board, and she is heading our website development committee. We hope to be launching a new and greatly improved website soon.
· We received a generous gift of some historic benches from the old train station and have placed them in the History Center. We also received generous gifts from many of you, as well as a generous contribution from the Colonial Dames in support of Heritage Day.
· Thanks to the efforts of Glenn Giles, we were awarded a $75,000 grant from the Kiwana’s Club Foundation to be used on building out the Heritage Museum.
· We have submitted an application to the Virginia Department of Historic Resources, seeking a highway marker at the courthouse in Chatham commemorating the Ex Parte Virginia case, an historically important 1880 civil rights decision by the United States Supreme Court, that originated in Chatham.
· We have taken over sponsorship of the Civil War Trails marker in Chatham regarding the Bilharz, Hall & Co. gun factory.
· In anticipation of a return to normal, we have scheduled the inaugural Heritage Day event for October 2, 2021 and we are looking forward to resuming membership meetings, including a fun day at Yates Tavern (details forthcoming).
· We endorsed and wrote a letter in support of the Southside African American Cemetery Association’s grant application to Virginia Outdoors Foundation for a park/historical interpretation area at the Stokesland Rosenwald School.
The loss of the Callands Festival has cost the Society our most important fundraiser. We are continuing to explore fundraising options to help us fill that gap. In the meantime, members can help by your donations, by purchasing PHS books and ornaments as gifts, and by gifting memberships to your history-loving family and friends.
We have appreciated your patience as the organization navigated the challenges of the pandemic. We look forward to exciting and interesting events in the future, as we work together to promote and preserve our local history.
The Board of Directors
Pittsylvania Historical Society