Down East Seniors welcome Historic Bath representative

Published 8:00 pm Thursday, March 16, 2017

The Down East Seniors Club held its March 15 meeting at the Blind Center of North Carolina in Washington. President Stewart Rumley led the meeting. Jim Hackney played the singing of “God Bless America,” and Charles Smith gave the invocation. Bob Diefendorf provided humor.

Rumley recognized two guests.

Program Chairman Chip Ide was out of town. In his stead, Rumley introduced Gene Roberts. As a board member of the Historic Bath Foundation, Roberts told about some of its activities. The members have completed restoration of the Glebe House (the parsonage of St. Thomas Episcopal Church) and the gardens at the Bonner House. They have saved some of the historic store buildings on Main Street. They recently purchased a lot next to the bridge coming into town and will outfit it for recreational use. They are raising funds to restore a wing of the old Bath High School for a town museum. The state has agreed that if the restoration is suitable, the state will furnish and staff the museum. Many Bath residents are already donating items for display in the museum. As examples, Roberts showed an original map of eastern North Carolina dated 1540, a 1730 painting of the now-extinct Carolina Parakeet, a set of prints of John White’s 1590 drawings of the area and its native people, and some original theater-lobby posters for the movie “Showboat.” Next year will be the 300th anniversary of Blackbeard’s demise. As part of the events recognizing this, the state will bring in an exhibit of items recovered from the wreck of his flagship. Visitors to the Historic Bath visitors’ center now make up 40 percent of Beaufort County’s tourists. The foundation is working to increase this number to 50 percent. Roberts also answered questions about his career as editor of the New York Times and Philadelphia Enquirer.

Gene Schwartz won the 50/50 drawing.