24 March 2012

An Historical Nautical Night

Well fed and succumbing to sea lore

Hastings County Historical Society President Richard Hughes has been quoted as saying the there are three aspects to promoting our local history: "gathering, recording and preserving, and promoting". The March 24 "Nautical Night" held at the Bay of Quinte Yacht Club in historic Victoria Park can be considered "guilty on all counts". The event in support of the Unlock the Archives capital campaign was a sell-out, with visitors travelling from as far as Hamilton to enjoy the great ambiance in this wonderful and historic bay-side yacht club, to delight to historic displays and compelling stories of local marine history, and to hear the siren call of Bay of Quinte's nautical history.
Paul Adamthwaite shares
the Atalanta's exploits

The event illustrates once again people's hunger for history (yes,and for great food too! The banquet prepared by a volunteer crew led by Hazel Lloyst, did not disappoint in any way).

Dick Bird
An outstanding line-up of speakers captivated the well-fed audience. Paul Adamthwaite, of the maritime history and conservation group the Archives & Collections Society of Picton shared the proud history of Belleville's own Atalanta, contender for the 1881 America's Cup. Dick Bird did Freeman Burrows proud - his account of Burrows' 1937 Great Lakes exploits on the Norseman inspired all who heard him.

Susan Smith the Club's Historian
Susan Smith, past Commodore of BQYC and the club historian  shared some of her discoveries in those "boxes and boxes of club history" she rescued from the dumpster - exciting stories of Belleville's boats' racing prowess from as far back as the 1870's.

Bill Hunt, noted Quinte area writer on things nautical and contraband, unnerved the audience by his ominous disappearance to Cuba.
Shifty character tries to explain
Bill Hunt's, ahhh, disappearance

His absence was not satisfactorily explained by the sinister character who took his place, who nonetheless gave an edifying and entertaining account of the great business opportunities afforded by Prohibition, in the seafaring Quinte community of the 1920's
L to R: Dick Bird, Susan Smith, archivist Sharon White, HCHS president Richard Hughes, Paul Adamthwaite, HCHS past-president and old salt Orland French

Hastings County Historical Society's 'Nautical History of Belleville and the Quinte Area' was a great way to celebrate local yachting history, and to start the season. Proceeds from the event go to the HCHS 'Unlock the Arhives' Capital Campaign - to preserve Hastings County's exciting history for us all, seafarer or landlubber. Look for the event next year...and be ready. Tickets go quickly.

22 March 2012

Belleville's Seniors' Fair

Volunteers Adele Dibben, Donna Fano, Katharine Mills, Mary Jane Throop and Elizabeth Mitchell

The Society shared tables with the Community Archives at Belleville's first Seniors Fair to show off some of the material from the Archives as well as the plans for the renovated building on Church Street.

By all accounts the Fair was a huge success and the volunteers reports a steady stream of visitors interested in the material being exhibited at the tables.

The "rush" was in the morning but activity continued throughout the day until closing time (when these pictures were taken).

17 March 2012

Twin Passions for 58 years - History and Art

artwork and complementary displays of archival photos 
Dona Knudsen, Belleville Art Association Executive Council Chair, expressed the mood of the opening day perfectly when she said "Today is a spectacular opportunity for two groups with a long history in the area to get together to share their passion." The event was the opening of 'History in Brushstrokes'.

From March 12 to April 7, the Quinte area was treated to a unique art show called 'History in Brushstrokes'. The show was held at the Belleville Art Association's bright and beautiful gallery at 392 Front Street, Belleville. 'History in Brushstrokes' was a unique show, combining 35 artistic interpretations of historic scenes of the area painted by the artists of the BAA, with display panels of archival photographs. The photos depicted  the actual locations of the painting in many cases, or examples of the scenery which inspired the art work. Evocative historic mills of Hastings County were a typical example.

The behind the scenes work had gone on for some weeks at the Heritage Centre in Cannifton. Hastings County Historical Society volunteers had been seeking out and scanning photographs of local scenes and historic buildings and mills to match the topics of the artwork which BAA artists were collecting and preparing to hang. This combined show was the brainchild of ....

The opening was held on a warm bright spring Saturday afternoon. The doors were open, people flowed in to enjoy the artwork, the historical photographs, the luscious buffet brightened by cheerful red tulips. It was a great opportunity for many of us to see the gorgeous newly redecorated BAA gallery - its shiny wood floors, bright windows and  white walls creating a lovely gallery space.
A great crowd came to enjoy the treats, the artwork and the history at the March 15 opening

The Belleville Art Association and Hastings County Historical Society have a great deal more in common 
than this very successful show. As Dona put it "as of September, we're both 58!" With such a shared history of achievement, is it possible that we can look forward to another exciting event like 'History in Brushstrokes'?