Monday, January 31, 2011

LCHS moves in to the HARCC....home at last!

New home for the Lawrence County Historical Society.
About 20 members of the Lawrence County Historical Society braved sub-zero temperatures today (1/31/11) for a bit of celebrating, as the society held its first-ever meeting in the new Homestake Adams Research and Cultural Center (HARCC)  building in Deadwood.

The group enjoyed cake, coffee and punch, followed by a tour of the HARCC, which is located at 150 Sherman Street.

LCHS president Jerry Bryant and Adams House and Museum Director Mary Kopco signed an agreement some weeks ago that gives the society a home in perpetuity – or  at least as long as Adams Museum & House, Inc. “remains the custodian” of HARCC.  While a room there is named the Lawrence County Historical Society Room, it will be used for a variety of other functions as well.  It will, however, serve as a site for LCHS meetings and research.

The HARCC staff have outfitted the LCHS Room with a marvelous conference table and several side chairs – furniture that came from the old Homestake Mining Company.  “We’ll have the table top smoothed up a bit for you,” said Mary Kopco, who indicated that they’ll also place a desk in the room for society use, augmenting an existing filing cabinet.

A spacious kitchen lies adjacent to the LCHS room. 

Kopco and Assistant Adams H&M Director Carolyn Weber led the group on a tour through both the upstairs and downstairs of the building.  For most members, it was the first time they’d been in the 17,000 square foot structure, which is designed to protect over 10,000 cubic feet of original documents in a climate-controlled and secure environment.

In 2005, Barrick Gold Corporation, successor to the Homestake Mining Company, donated the Homestake archival records to the Adams House.  The Adams board of directors realized that a new building was necessary to care for the materials – and offer public accessibility to the records.  The City of Deadwood bought the building to serve as the Homestake Adams Research and Cultural Center.

Ed Furois outside the Fassbender
vault during the LCHS tour.
The facility is the repository for extensive collections, including 126 years of maps and drawings of the Black Hills region, 45,000 historic photographs, slides and glass plate negatives; and a wide array of assay ledgers, diaries, scrapbooks, correspondence, blueprints, archaeological drawings, and much more.

The much-heralded Fassbender collection is also archived at the HARCC.  Comprised of more than 800,000 photographs, negatives, slides and motion picture footage from over nearly 100 years, the collection is now at the HARCC.  Josef Fassbender owned and operated Black Hills Studios for many decades.  His son, George, took over the business in 1958 and operated it until the late 1980s.  When George Fassbender died in 1998, he willed the collection to Ed Furois and Johnny Sumners of Spearfish. 

Lawrence County Historical Society helped facilitate preservation of the collection, which was purchased last year by the cities of Deadwood, Lead and Spearfish.  The publicly-owned collection was then moved to the HARCC, where it is secured in a climate-controlled vault.

LCHS treasurer Jacke Mitchell (right) presents a first
installment check to Adams H&M Director Mary Kopco
The HARCC hopes to provide easy access to a multitude of documents never before available to the public – and to host classes for secondary and post-secondary students on topics ranging from geology and astronomy to engineering and archaeology. 

We've placed a few HARCC tour photographs in the the LCHS Gallery.  There are some others there, too, that you might enjoy seeing.

While health issues prevented LCHS president Jerry Bryant from attending this special gathering, treasurer Jacke Mitchell took on the task of presenting Mary Kopco with the first of three $5,000 payments that the society will make over the next several months.

Another bit of good news for the society – South Dakota Secretary of State Jason Gant last week (1/24/11) signed the Articles of Incorporation documents for the Lawrence County Historical Society.  Revisions to society bylaws will be recommended to the LCHS board of directors when they meet at 3:00 p.m., on Friday, February 25th at the HARCC in Deadwood.