Collectors have been stashing historical documents and artifacts in their closets for years, but now they might have found a new home. After a motion brought by Councilwoman Dee Cragun, the Deer Park City Council unanimously directed Mayor Verzal to draw up an agreement that would allow the Clayton/Deer Park Historical Society to use a city building.
Cragun’s action followed an impassioned plea by Michael Reiter who spoke of the difficulties of managing the growing collection of memorabilia. He stated how the Historical Society cannot accept any more donations until more space is found, and said they’d “like to have a place to get our stuff and get some bookcases and display cases.”
The building the Historical Society is asking to use is the training room on the west side of the old fire station (behind City Hall). The Mayor estimated it at 800 square feet. One of the only concerns mentioned in the discussion was that its small size would soon be outgrown. Even if they soon ran out of space, Reiter was convinced “it would be a really good start.” In a memo to the council, the Historical Society said, “we’ve been a part of this community for a fair number of years and it would be nice to finally have an actual door people could walk through.”
Several other local entities have similar use agreements with the city. The Chamber of Commerce, S.C.O.P.E., and the Deer Park Senior Center use parts of City Hall at no charge. There are no specific guidelines for which organizations will be granted such use, and each request is evaluated by city employees and the City Council. Debby Cragun, the City Clerk, spoke with the Gazette over the phone, and said her approach to these matters is that “if it benefits the citizens within the city we do what we can to help them out.”
While the distant future holds the possibility of displaying artifacts and allowing the public to visit the Historical Society’s home, the present is focused on acquiring the space. Once the members of the Society have had a chance to centralize their collections, then the work of organizing and indexing must begin.
Find out more about the Clayton/Deer Park Historical Society at www.cdphs.org, or by joining their monthly meeting at 9:00 AM on the second Saturday of each month. Meetings are currently hosted at the Clayton Grange, located at 4478 Railroad Ave., west of the Brickyard Tavern and the Post Office in Clayton.