Why do people join organizations that are based in History & Heritage activities? Learn more about places they live in, came from, or have special ties Want to help save/preserve the history Think it's important to know our past in order to understand the present & protect the future Preserve local history for future generations to have an understanding of local heritage They just want to have fun & share interest with other like-minded folks!
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Sylvia is the Executive director of Westside Historical Society. What doesn't she do... we would like to thank her in all that she does for our community. As a retired Salisbury University history professor, she's a wealth of knowledge to Westside's events.
Claudia, with her mother Iris and sister Sylvia, joined WHS in its earliest years. When WHS began producing an annual Heritage Festival, for several years she and mom Iris were in charge of the Food Truck, buying, cooking and serving tons of food! After Iris death, Claudia continued for several years with this part of the Festival. But, a teaching career in Wicomico County and raising two children put other Westside activities on “the back burner” for a while. Since retirement she has been able to devote much more time to her real love among Westside activities, the restored Barren Creek Springs Church. Now, as Curator, she oversees its overall maintenance and scheduling of events; if you need to arrange an event or wedding at the church, you will be speaking with her. And if you admire the flowers and landscaping she is primarily responsible for that as well!
And in addition she helps man WHS booth at other heritage organizations’ events, such as the Sharptown Heritage Days. Thank you Claudia!!
After a career that kept him in the Upper Shore for many years, Charles has returned to his roots in Mardela Springs, and we are so grateful. He is our “go-to guy” for all sorts of things at Barren Creek Church, and is working hard to promote it as a the real historical gem it is – for weddings, tours, and gatherings! And he still finds time to be docent at the Adkins Complex in the Bratten-Taylor General Store, which was once owned by his ancestor, and be a member of the local Vintage Car Club, and even be George Washington!
Dora hails from Dorchester County originally, but moved here with husband Jack Bailey when they married. Probably three generations of students at Mardela High School remember Dora, who made a career out of being bookkeeper and financial guru there for more than 30 years, and also became a friend and confidant to all of them! After her retirement, she joined us at Westside. Here, all of us owe a debt of gratitude to her for being our Treasurer, for keeping such meticulous financial records, helping at almost all our events, and keeping everyone on their toes!! We appreciate you and love you!!
Thank goodness Rosemary found her way from Wisconsin to Mardela Springs! And thanks to Randy Slacum (with roots in Mardela and Dorchester Co.) for bringing her here!! Both retired here after very successful teaching careers, bought one of Mardela’s oldest homes and lovingly restored it, and have been giving back to the community ever since! Rosemary does a masterful job as our Membership Chairman, and you should be hearing from her very soon! She also finds time to volunteer with the Adkins Complex, paint beautiful oil and water color pictures, and serve the Women’s Club in Salisbury!
This lovely lady is one of our newer volunteers and already has proved to be invaluable as Docent and tour guide host, clerical assistant in the Research Library, and especially as a participant and aide in the Local Family History Program initiated by WHS a couple of years ago. With ancestral ties to the western side of Wicomico County (Bivalve!) she is becoming an important aide in this program. And her grandmother “taxi duties” for a grand-daughter in Mardela Middle-High School keep her in town quite often! This year she also has volunteered to become Manager of the “Spring House Gifts Shop” at the Museum and will be on hand most days the Museum will be open to the public now through mid-October.
It’s a three-fer!! This family affair has become central to so much of what we do we can’t remember what we did before they joined us! Charlie and Melissa both serve on the Board of Directors, but are active in so many ways. Charlie chairs the “Home Town Heroes” Military Banner Program, which was suggested and promoted by son Chase Echard – only a 9th grader at Mardela Middle-High at the time! Together they hang the banners along Mardela’s streets every spring and take them down for storage in the late fall. Charlie chairs the annual Vintage Baseball game event, part of our Saving Our Traditions program, and also the 5K Jingle Bell Run at Christmas. Chase and Charlie see to it that all of WHS properties lawns are cared for, heavy moving of donated artifacts and furniture is carefully done, and all three Echards serve as hosts/docents when needed! Melissa and Charlie, both teachers at Northwestern Elementary, also are major advisors on the Education Programs Committee, and key leaders in the annual 4th grade class tour of “Historical Mardela Springs”. This fall Chase will be heading off to college, but we sure hope he will not forget us!
Following in the footsteps of her mother and father, and with her brother and sister, have been a vital part of Westside Historical Society since it’s founding in 1984. The “Robinson Family” have deep, deep roots in Mardela Springs, tracing their ancestors back well into the early 1800s. And their family tradition of volunteering for the community seems just as old. Richard and Martha Robinson both served as Directors of Westside Historical Society. At one time or other, daughter Donna Robinson Short was the first Vice-President of WHS, son Kenneth also held offices and all have worked hard to make the organization not only survive but succeed.
For several years Vivian has served as General Chairman of the Sprint Westside Heritage Festival, a job she loved and at which she excelled! With sister Donna – parade organizer, vendor chairman, jack-of-all-trades on the golf cart! – they put together fun-filled heritage experiences for the area! With the transition of Westside Historical Society’s Spring event from festival into something a little different, we are certain Vivian will make it just as exciting and special as the Festival was for 30 years!
Vivian presently holds the position of Vice-President of the Board of Directors, and is one of our most hard-working members. Whether it means gathering great silent auction gifts, selling raffle tickets or ads, organizing WHS role in the Wicomico County Fair, working on the Planning Committee for the town’s Christmas Heritage Tour, or just general jack-of-all trades, Vivian is a PRIME figure in WHS.
A past member of the Board of Directors, but when she decided to run for the Dorchester Co. Board of Education (and she won!!!) two years ago, felt she should resign from our Board in order to give her full attention to that County’s students. A native of Snow Hill in Worcester County, she met Joe Layton Jr. from Vienna, when both were in college, and they married after graduation. Joe Layton Sr. and his wife Iris, native daughter of Mardela Springs, were active members in Westside Hist. Soc. and so began Joe and Laura’s gradual involvement in WHS. In recent years, Laura (an English teacher and avid reader) and Sylvia Bradley initiated a WHS program “Authors on Delmarva”, a series of book talks by authors of books about life on Delmarva. Laura suggested the program be held in Layton’s Chance Winery, owned by her and Joe Sr. and son William and his wife Jen. Altho’ Laura no longer sits on WHS Board, she is still an active part of the Book Talk series, and a great hostess to all the Programs! Thanks so much Laura! AND the rest of the Layton family!!
Another valued member and Board Member, hails from Mardela Springs but now lives in Hebron with her husband. Tami is so good at so many things it is hard to showcase just one thing she does so well!
She is certified as a tourism professional and is an important leader in our docent activities, but also
is a terrific fundraiser, and has become a champion when it comes to organizing and producing a successful Silent Auction! She even drafts her sisters as helpers! She is an important part of networking with other non-profit heritage organizations, and for a while recruited son Kevin as volunteer and a member of the Board until he moved out of the area. Tami proves the old adage, If you want something done well, give it to a busy person! Because she is always busy, and always a winner!
Moved to Sharptown a few years ago, all the way from Texas! And how lucky we are that she did! Donna is a very talented musician, and has been so important in developing concerts and musical programs, especially in the Barren Creek Springs Church. As a recently-elected member of the Board, she already is working on plans to link the area’s rich cultural heritage with musical programming. We can’t wait!!
“Born and Raised” (as Eastern Shoremen say!) in Mardela Springs. His mother Norma came from many generations of the local Evans family, and his dad’s parents had the wisdom to move here as soon as they could! Bob is always willing to help – whether it is directing traffic or manning WHS tables at Festivals, hosting meetings, dealing with banking issues or recruiting members and volunteers. And his guidance on policies and administrative issues always is invaluable. He joined the Board of Directors in 2014 and we hope he will continue for many more years!
Although her Bennett family roots run very deep in the Mardela Springs /Athol area, she moved here for the first time just recently, leaving her home in Williamsburg, VA to “come home.” And we are so glad!! Bonnie is willing to help in any and all ways she can. She will be hostess at other events, help put together exhibits, guide adults or children on tours, and offer good advice and suggestions. Recently elected to the Board of Directors, we are convinced that we have found a winner in Bonnie! We are especially looking forward to having her guidance on developing a new program to promote Heritage Tourism in Mardela Springs and the westside of the County.
Delmarva captured a winning couple when Dixie Eddye and husband Al moved to Sharptown several years ago. Since then she has become a loyal and dependable – and really valued – volunteer! She serves as docent in the Museum, hostess at the Barren Creek Church, is great with the 4th graders who visit every spring, and is a dependable and wise Board member. And she even shares her talents with our “sister” westside heritage organization, serving on the Board of the Sharptown Historical Commission!
When Westside Historical Society was organized in 1984, the leader in that effort, Howard Adkins, had the vision to invite wise and capable citizens from all over western Wicomico County to become a part of it. One of his best choices was Margaret “Peg” Rider of Sharptown. Peg became a founding member of WHS, serving on the Board of Directors, hosted meetings in those early days when they were held in a number of westside towns, worked to organize the earliest programs, and tirelessly contributed to the success of this Society. Along the way, one of her most important – and memorable – contributions was to voluntarily produce one-woman fashion shows, modeling her collection of vintage clothing. She even donated a number of dresses to WHS museum exhibit, History by the Hemline. And Peg continues to support WHS in many ways, not least of which is participating in events by exhibiting, with Herman Fletcher, another of the family collections of vintage automobiles! AND – this year is a very special one for Peg who celebrates 2018 with her great 100th birthday party!
Carol Layton Robinson is a “Real Westsider”! Growing up on a farm outside Vienna, her Layton family beginnings go back to the 1600s. And her husband Willis Robinson can trace his family back to the early colonial era in what is now Mardela Springs and Sharptown as well. Her dad Joe, step-mother Iris, and brother Joe Jr. and his family all were/are WHS members and volunteers. Carol continues the family tradition! She is a valued worker at public events and festivities, and a valued member!!
We love it when folks come up to us at an event and say “I like what you do, and I would like to help!” That’s how we met Patti Hotton a few years ago. And since her retirement she has kept her word! This multi-talented lady, (and did we mention – U.S. Air Force Veteran!) volunteers as docent, event planning and production, and even writes our monthly Blog! Drop her a line – she loves to hear from folks who share her enthusiasm for Westside Historical!!!
One of our newer workers, Terri came aboard at a great time! We really needed someone to take charge of efficiently dealing with our backlog of donated artifacts, records, documents, and papers! She quickly moved into the position of Assistant Registrar and has become the “go-to” person in the Society for any number of administrative problems! And she also volunteers as occasional docent, assistant curator, and jack-of-all-trades in the Museum! Our Gal Friday!! Thanks, Terri!!