After 25 years of occupying a corner of the Scenic Regional Library in Pacific, the Meramec Valley Genealogical and Historical Society (MVGHS) is preparing to move to new quarters in city hall.
Mayor Herb Adams had identified the MVGHS as a city committee, with a mission to operate a family history center in Pacific and has appointed committee members.
The society has a collection of obituaries and local history stories that started in 1965 when Sue Reed became branch manager of the library and started clipping.
“I was always interested in local history,” Reed said. “I wrote my first story about the old livery stable in Union while I was still in high school. Mr. C. J. Hanneken gave me the information.”
At the Pacific library her clippings grew to create family histories on many local families. She also collected local history books and historical maps.
“I really started collecting seriously in 1975 when Eloise LeSaulnier and I did the book ‘In Retrospect,’ which was published in 1976,” Reed said.
By the time the MVGHS was formed in 1987, her collection would fill two filing cabinets and about 20 boxes.
Reed secured permission from Ken Rohrbach, Scenic Regional Library assistant director, to house the collection in the library.
“The library was very good to us,” Reed said. “They gave us one filing cabinet and helped us to buy another one.”
Now the society has approximately 70 members. Every Tuesday morning from 10 a.m. to noon a group of volunteers gather at the library to clip obituaries and articles from local newspapers and file them alphabetically as a resource for family history researchers.
Members also have scoured old books and directories to add to the collection of names.
Things will change some when the society moves into its new glass-enclosed quarters off the front lobby of the city hall.
Technology will come to the forefront as society members load indexes from local history books, its family history archive and obituary collection into a program that will allow research to type a name into the computer and see a list of mentions of the family, event or institution in materials in the society archive.
In 1993, society members wrote manuscripts detailing the history of Pacific churches, schools and businesses. The manuscripts were collected in a soft cover book, “Memories,” and sold as a fundraiser.
The organization typically meets every other month on the third Wednesday. The next meeting will be held on the third Tuesday of September at 10 a.m. at the Pacific Presbyterian Church service building.
Agenda items for that meeting include discussion on a smooth move to city hall and dedication of the King and Mary Adams monument in Resurrection Hill Cemetery.
Society officers are Patricia Sewell, president; Ruth Muehler, vice president; Therissa Schlemper, treasurer; Bebe Mackenzie secretary; Janet Daniel, curator; and Sally Guenther conservator.