Ken Garrett and Julia Runnels, who discussed local history dating as far back as the early 1700s at our January Society program, made the point very clearly: We live in a community that is teaming with historical significance. The Great Falls Historical Society has been performing the mission of identifying, documenting, and obtaining many historical designations to secure our history for future generations since its founding by Milburn Sanders in 1977.
Yet emerging insights that sharpen and deepen as we shift our focus to particular neighborhoods and specific properties within Great Falls suggest that the history of our place is even more robust than documented to date. In alignment with our society’s mission as defined by Milburn Sanders, "To feel the pulse of earth where man has trod, and for the future, keep the past," we are holding a "workspace" – a "community container" – over 12 Mondays from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. throughout the winter months at the Great Falls Library Meeting Room. We invite everyone to come forward with stories, photographs, artifacts, research sources, and writings, as well as personal skills at organizing, writing, archiving, digitizing, storytelling, interviewing, etc. – for the purpose of ensuring that our collective memory of the history of Great Falls from the perspective of particular neighborhoods is complete and accurate. We do not require people to turn over treasures, but rather to ensure that important pieces of our community history are archived and properly described on the Great Falls Historical Society website so that their existence and whereabouts is known and the owner can be contacted. Filming will be available in the small conference room to capture oral histories. Once the full story of the place we love is gathered, initiatives forward may become clear.
All who have an interest in history are welcome - you do not need to bring history about your neighborhood to participate, just enthusiasm and curiosity. The Great Falls Library has disability access, thus historians of all ages may enter easily. Everyone who comes will be invited to participate. The dates are Jan. 23 and 30, Feb. 6, 13, and 27, March 5, 12, 19, and 26, and April 2, 9 and 16 from 1 to 5 p.m. at the Great Falls Library Meeting Room.