If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, again

Roderick A. Mullins photo and artwork - 2017You can’t blame the Dickenson County Historical Society for trying. What’s the old saying? If at first, you don’t succeed, try, try again. 

Somewhere, Abraham Lincoln who did not succeed in a number of his attempts in life has to be smiling.

Smiling that the historical society is not only persistent but determined to reach their goal of getting DMHS and doing something with it.

Once again the DCHS was on the agenda for the month of June with the Dickenson County Board of Supervisors and this time, the members who came brought with them an overall historical society “business plan” outlining the group intentions and mission for the future.

Society spokesperson Susan Mullins addressed supervisors and once again asked for the board’s consideration in letting the society make use of the vacant DMHS building. 

Last month, Mullins spoke to the board in public expression and again made a pitch to the board to consider letting the group take possession of DMHS in hopes of saving the structure from further ruin. At the end of her presentation, several board members asked questions of who would pay for the upkeep and improvements of the building leading one board member to pointedly ask, “Where is your business plan?”

After the board made their unexpected shot across the historical society’s bow, Mullins and the group returned to the June meeting with an overall plan in hand and ready to present to the supervisors to demonstrate their desire to save the building.

In her comments, Mullins spoke about the group’s involvement in the upcoming 4th of July festivities in the county, particularly in Clintwood which will feature a military tribute to all county veterans living or deceased that have served their country, adding that five historical authors will be present also at the group’s small trailer located across from Ralph Cummins Stadium in Clintwood.

“We are not an ordinary business,” Mullins told the board, adding that the society’s plan is to be a historical “repository for Virginia’s baby.”

“We’ve come a long way from the old Phipps place,” added Mullins who briefly reflected back on the group’s first shared home with the Dickenson County Chamber of Commerce and the Doc Phipps Museum that exists now on the main street in town.  The historical society’s growth forced the group to move to a new place on FFA Drive in February of 2009.  

“We never dreamed that our historical society would be where we are today,” replied Mullins, adding that “ We don’t know where we will be in 10 years, no one knows that.”

The group has recently been called upon to provide historical and genealogical data for the Mullins/Fleming reunion and helping to restart the reunion.  This year, 55 people attended the reunion with some of those changing travel plans to other locations in the United States to stop off in Clintwood for the reunion. 

The Pound Historical Society recently provided the group with valuable information on one of Dickenson County’s most beloved and respected figures, Hampton Osborne and the Church of Latter Day Saints had also contacted the society with information that they had a box in their possession and believed it had ties to Dickenson County.

Upon receipt of the box, the society found out they had received a treasure trove of photos and information on the Roland Chase house, the former home of Miller Funeral Home and the current site of the Ralph Stanley Museum.

Before closing out her statement to the board, Mullins also gave an example of recent efforts in Pike County, KY where the old Elkhorn City High School building is now being renovated into affordable housing, remindingMullins reminded the board that the World War I anniversary is coming up and asked supervisors to “please don’t tear it down.”

Ervinton district supervisor David Yates asked the lone question after the presentation, quizzing Mullins as to the group’s 501c, non-profit status, to which she confirmed the group has. The board though took no action on the matter. 

Hopefully, somewhere Abraham Lincoln can get the wheels of progress turning in favor of the Dickenson County Historical Society as they try to save DMHS from ruin and demolition.

You can sign a Change.org petition that is online dedicated to saving the building as a memorial dedicated to the World War I veterans killed from Dickenson County and giving DCHS a chance to save the building to be used as a historical monument and a museum housing veterans memorabilia and artifacts from Dickenson County. You can sign the petition here.

Time is running out.

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