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Panels showcasing history of Parishville should be up by bicentennial

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MASSENA - At least two interpretive panels are scheduled to be unveiled in time for next summer’s bicentennial celebrations in Parishville.

The displays will include short write-ups as well as photographs, highlighting the history of the nearly 200-year-old town.

The first panel is already nearly complete and focuses on the geographic aspects of the St. Regis River. It has pictures created by students in the Parishville-Hopkinton Central School System of various fish found in the river, a paragraph describing the history and geology of the river, and an up-close outline of the entire river’s run created by Parishville Town Planning Board member Fred Wilhelm.

“One panels going to show the source of the river and how it’s a typical Adirondack stream. The second panel is going to reflect how the river influenced the settlement of the village, the hamlet of Parishville and the town of Parishville, and we’re trying to relate that into how it’s a typical Adirondack river,” Mr. Wilhelm said.

The second panel is still in planning mode but it will show the different cultural effects that the river has had on the town’s history. Historical Association President and Co-Historian Joseph R. McGill explained that in addition to the two probable panels, the town is hoping to have a handful of smaller ones.

“We’d also like to have smaller ones throughout town like one here at the town hall outside of the town hall that shows the original town hall that used to be here and maybe has a picture of that, when it burned and a little description of the history when this one was built. Right now, (we’ll have) definitely two, but we’d like to have maybe three or four smaller ones,” Mr. McGill said.

The two panels that are almost definite would be located right outside of town hall, each on one side of the walkway and near the flag pole.

Mr. Wilhelm said that the panels are expensive but the permanence of the displays is definitely a positive. Councilwoman Shirley Robinson added that the panels will probably require occasional upkeep.

“These panels are really, really nice. They’re expensive but they last a long time,” Mr. Wilhelm said.

These panels will not be completed without a little financial assistance, as the town board has been helped by a few different organizations.

“We’ve already completed one, which was the geographic one. To do the second one, which is the cultural one, it costs about $2,500 and (Erie Boulevard’s) paid for half and we just have to match those funds,” Mr. McGill said.

“The West Branch St. Regis River Advisory Council has given us enough to pay for one of the panels. We were going to try and get matching funds. At this point in time, it’s been taking years. We’ve been working on this for years so they decided just to go with one panel for now and that is the natural history,” Mr. Wilhelm said.

“Now the cultural history, we need some people to give some input on that and come up with some ideas,” he said. “At this point, all we’ve done is talk to the county historian, and we got to look at some pictures over at the town museum and we got pictures of the pictures, but we haven’t done anything other than that.”

The town of Parishville’s bicentennial celebrations will be held on Aug. 15, 16 and 17, 2014.

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