Reflections Holiday Issue | Volume 17, Number 5 - Page 18


The group was successful in opening a heritage center they named The Henry Ford Village Museum . They gained permission from Magnolia Manor to use the former Henry Ford Kindergarten building on Ford

contributed to information , arti-
Avenue and Timber Trail Road . The museum was opened one day per week to start . Local friends and neighbors
facts , and photographs used to furnish the space . I believe Dr . Long said it best in an interview for Bryan County Times on January 31 , 1996 , when he said , " We have such a rich history here , we ought to be telling people about it ."
Because education and tourism were top of mind , the society began offering educational lectures on various topics about the history of Richmond Hill and the Georgia coast and sought out tour groups to visit the
museum . Elderhostel ( now known as Road Scholar ), an organization that provides continuing education programs and tours for people ages 55 and older , brought dozens of visitors from all around the country . With a mission of reaching young and old , the society also regularly hosted school groups and set up displays at the local library about topics including Black History Month and life during the Ford Era . In addition , local artists and members of the society created an elaborate mural depicting Ford historic sites which rotated locations around town and was finally ( permanently ) housed in the museum .
Today , volunteers are still active in working to achieve the objectives of the society . We enjoy hosting lectures and events
( although not as many since Covid darkened our door ) and operating the museum ( now the Richmond Hill History Museum ) five days per week .
One noticeable shift in priorities as of late has been toward historic preservation . I ' m sure we all have one or more historic buildings that come to mind that were allowed to deteriorate , be moved , or torn down ( e . g ., George Washington Carver School , Trade School , and Ice House ). As evidenced in the archives , early members of the society faced enormous challenges in putting actual protections into place .

In recent years , the society has made progress in garnering more interest in creating policies to preserve historic resources and promoting heritage tourism . We have a shared vision with the City of Richmond Hill ' s Historic Preservation Commission , Downtown Development Authority , and Convention and Visitors Bureau . The City of Richmond Hill has been an excellent partner in the endeavor , most notably by establishing the first-ever Historic District on January 5 , 2021 . The Ford Avenue Historic District spans from the Ford Courthouse Annex to the Ford Kindergarten . The District ' s ordinance and guidelines " Recognize and protect the unique character and integrity of areas that embody significant elements of Richmond Hill ' s history . The District is the commercial core of the town built by Henry Ford . Its historic buildings are characterized by the regional architecture of the South , spe-

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