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A historic effort gets a fresh start

(ran EO edition)

The new Oldsmar Historical Society will meet at 10 a.m. Saturday in the Oldsmar Public Library, 101 State St. W.

"I'm encouraging anyone who's lived here for any amount of time to please come and join us," said president Loretta Wyandt. Those who join this year will be designated charter members.

An earlier historical society founded by the late Bud Lister eventually dissolved, but Wyandt thinks Oldsmar is ready for a group now. Since the first meeting in March, she said, attendance has increased each month.

"I'm real enthused about it," she said. "It's been a long time coming. Now that the city is growing, we need to accumulate and preserve our past treasures and not neglect our present."

And the group hopes to find a home where the public can learn about the history of Oldsmar and see the artifacts and photos donated by residents.

"My dream is to have it where the library is now," Wyandt says. The building left by R.E. Olds will be vacated after a new library is built.

"I foresee having a museum," Wyandt says.

But first things first.

They voted on officers: Wyandt, president, Vanessa Michaels, vice president, Jane Bohr, secretary/treasurer, Claude Jean, board member, and Lorenzo Hayes, board member. Many others are helping behind the scenes.

The group has incorporated with the state of Florida and will soon file with the IRS for nonprofit status.

Wyandt, who confesses that she was once a pack-rat, is going back to her old ways. She's saving programs from arts center performances and anything else of historical interest. But before the group accepts donations, they need an air-conditioned place to store it all.

The city has offered some storage space on the waterfront Kumar property near downtown, and Wyandt and board members will look it over this week.

The group also has a logo ready with the name of the group in the foreground and, in the background, the building the R.E. Olds Farm Co. built in 1918 and 1919 to serve as a bank, the current library.

The cost to join is $10 for an individual, $25 for a family and $100 for a sustaining member. "Of course, we'll take any amount that's given," Wyandt said.

Call Wyandt at (813) 855-1931.

_ If you have news or photos about Oldsmar schools, churches, businesses, neighborhood groups, community organizations or people, call Theresa Blackwell at (727) 445-4229, fax it to her at (727) 445-4206, e-mail or mail material to her at the North Pinellas Times, 34342 U.S. 19 N, Palm Harbor, FL 34684.