Volume 32, Number 3, Spring 1993
When the White River Valley Historical Society holds its annual meeting on June 13th, 1993, we will be marking the completion of the Societys thirty-second year. When the Society was formed in 1961, the White River region was in the midst of a monumental change, the impoundment of three huge lakes which buried much of the river lands those who came before us had settled over the previous 140 years. For the past third of a century local families and historians have joined hands in efforts to preserve our regional memories, old stories, family histories, civic records, and knowledge of the land much of which now lies buried under 80-year-old Lake Taneycomo and 30-40 year old Lakes Beaver, Table Rock, and Bull Shoals.
Now the urgency of our task seems greater than ever! What began a short five years ago with the extension of the tourist season through spring, summer and most of the fall brought an estimated five million visitors to Taney and Stone counties alone last year. Suddenly, from Springfield, Missouri, to Harrison, Arkansas, from Cassville, Missouri, to Mountain Home, Arkansas, subdivisions are crowding the hills and hollows, woods and prairies long considered unusable for building are being scraped, leveled, or buttressed for new theaters, motels, restaurants, shopping centers, and upscale housing areas. Elections feature taxes for more schools; sewage treatment plants; vastly enlarged police, fire and ambulance departments; road systems which cannot keep up with the ever increasing traffic. And residents are coming to terms with planning and zoning, anathema just a few years ago.
An important side-light to all this ferment is growing concern over the loss of historic sites, even of local history itself. County historical societies and groups interested in local historic preservation are rushing to earmark historic buildings and collect old pictures, records, and memories of pioneers families.
In the midst of all this activity, at the June meeting I will be stepping down as president of your Society. It has been a busy and eventful three years and I thank you all for granting me this opportunity to serve, and for the tremendous cooperation you continue to provide. The work of the Society obviously goes on with renewed urgency, and there will be no lack of opportunities to serve, for you and for me. Our work of indexing the past Quarterlies is continuing--an expanded index of Volume One will be ready soon. And there is a local push in progress to document the history of Branson while there are still memories and photographs of the early years to be tapped. The young woman spearheading the Branson historical project, Gaye Lisby, grew up in Ozark County and is a graduate of the College of the Ozarks. Inspired by her strong interest, many past and present members of the WRVHS have joined in the project which is currently focusing on developing a full record of the ownership, use, and proprietors of the each downtown business building and property.
Please keep us posted on projects.
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