R’land’s historical society now officialBy MEGAN PHILLIPS,
The Historical Society of Ridgeland has been officially incorporated as an arm of the city.
The committee was originally organized in 2009 to preserve documents, record history and acquire oral histories from senior adults.
“The historical committee formed several years ago, gathering and storing historical information and getting artifacts together,” Mayor Gene McGee said. “They wanted to be formed as an official arm like other boards — to have a place to store some historical items, a place to meet and have help from staff, such as the planning and zoning or architectural review boards.”
On Tuesday, October 3, the city made the society official. McGee said that once the new city hall is complete on U.S. Highway 51, an area in the building will be dedicated to the city’s historical artifacts and the committee.
When the committee was made official, the current members gave the mayor and board of aldermen a slate of nominees for each position.
“The committee sent a slate of appointees to the board, and then the board (approved),” Ward 1 Alderman Ken Heard said. “This is unlike most standing committees where the mayor and aldermen elect the members. These people have been together for so long, they’re keeping appointments separate from the city even though it’s a standing committee of the city.”
“It’s good they’re recommending the members, because they know who has a strong interest in preserving history,” McGee said.
President Pat Trusdale became part of the organization in 2010, a year after the group came together.
“There was a group of about six people that got together in 2009 who were interested in preserving Ridgeland’s history. They drew up a charter, got the wheels rolling, and I came in shortly after that and fell in love with it,” she said.
The society has worked and plans to continue working closely with the city on projects and events.
“We’re going to do quarterly reports to the board, work together on projects — it’s a win-win all around,” she said.
Since its inception, the committee has participated in the mayor’s fun walk, partnered with the chamber of commerce, and been involved with other events and municipal organizations.
“We’re gradually trying to make ourselves more visible and help with different sponsored city events,” Trusdale said.
In the past eight years, the committee has completed several projects, including identifying historical sites and artifacts, gathering and archiving photographs and written and oral histories, encouraging the preservation of sites and data, and much more.
“We got a national marker on the railroad tracks on Jackson Street, and we’ve interviewed several senior citizens of Ridgeland and typed up their oral histories, reminiscing on the city.”
The committee has preserved historical documents and worked closely with the Mississippi Department and Archives and History.
“We learned a lot from them about the proper way to preserve historical documents… We’re excited about the progress thus far.”