Dear Trust Members,
Greetings to our Somerset County Historical Trust members – it’s been a while since we’ve communicated with you!
Though our activities have been somewhat abbreviated this year, our Trust board has been meeting virtually and in person and we are eager to update you on our progress.
We now have an established Board of Directors devoted to preserving heritage and literally hundreds of antique properties in our county, more per-capita than anywhere else in Maryland.
Historically, the Somerset Trust has been a successful cohesive group committed to protecting these historical structures and the traditions that surround them. With Gale’s passing, we have felt obliged to re-evaluate our commitment, expertise, and capabilities.
All of us agree that we are still viable as an institution and that our mission remains generally unchanged, but we feel that the Trust can best serve its purpose with some adjustment to our priorities. We’ve concluded that we are not presently able to take on any major reconstruction projects, but that we are in a position to continue providing community service in three specific ways:
We have decided to become a watchdog for all intact and endangered valuable properties in the county. With the input of our membership community, we have the ability to document the extent of heritage loss and our commitment to preservation.
The Trust is uniquely positioned to provide assistance to anyone proposing to restore old structures. Our combined knowledge and experience, and our new website and newsletter, will allow us to share useful information, including a Directory of contractors, tradespersons, appraisers, realtors, and historic salvage materials for those with particular needs. Members with expertise in specific areas of preservation may also be listed.
The rest of America is largely unaware of our wealth and magnitude of our valuable historical properties here on the Eastern Shore. The economics of our region place us in a unique position to attract investors who share in our interests. To this end, we will establish robust relationships with local and national real estate agents, brokers, and advertisers in an effort to promote our area and attract anyone interested in restoring and owning an historic home.
Our social interactions and connections are also a vital part of our mission. So, just as soon as we again can meet socially, we plan to renew our annual social functions, preservation workshops, and 'Evenings At' events.
Ongoing projects – We continue our determination to complete one other of Gale’s projects, a book of the letters of Elizabeth Upshur Teackle. The work is well underway and will greatly enhance our ability to convey the personal stories of a wealthy family and its enslaved servants in early Somerset County. Your tax-deductible contributions to the SCHT Teackle Letters Fund will help to make this possible.
We are also actively helping our partners in the Somerset County Historical Society to restore the Sarah Martin Done House, and our colleagues at the Fairmount Academy to rebuild their heritage center.
New Website & Newsletter – We’re pleased to announce that we have now have a website for the Trust - http://schtrust.org. And we have plans to start sending you our quarterly TRUST TRIBUNE newsletter.
Membership – We will be resuming our membership cycle starting in January (memberships will now run from Jan-Dec) so stay tuned for notices about your membership renewal.
Please help us to carry our mission forward. Give us your ideas, your participation. We are, after all, volunteers in a shared cause.
Randolph George, Chairman
Somerset County Historical Trust