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Boonsboro heritage group marks achievements

November 18, 1996

By KERRY LYNN FRALEY

Staff Writer

BOONSBORO - The Boonsboro Historical Society has changed a lot since 1970, when a few local collectors met at Doug Bast's apartment to talk about the need for preserving the area's history.

But the broad goals of the group - chartered in May of that year - have remained constant, said Bast, the historical society's first president and a current board member.

Those goals are "stressing the heritage of our area and educating people on the importance of that heritage and why we should keep it alive," said Bast, who believes the group achieves those goals through its annual Boonesborough Days event and its circa 1875 house museum, The Bowman House.

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On Sunday afternoon, Bast and five other charter members took turns reminiscing about the group's past during a Founders Day Tea honoring all 15 of the group's charter members.

Charter members Charles Smith, Wanda Heuer, Mark Bikle, Austin Flook and Stu Mullendore joined Bast in the spotlight on the stage of the Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church hall.

"We just decided it would be a nice time to honor our charter members," said the group's current president, Jackie Rogers, who said it's the first time the group has recognized its own.

Charles Smith said it's gratifying to see how the group's Boonesborough Days event has spawned similar events in Maryland and other states.

It was Smith who donated The Bowman House, which belonged to his ancestor, potter John Bowman.

"I'm not all that generous," Smith joked. "I saw it as a way to get rid of it."

Stu Mullendore said he saw the need for a local historical society to gather and preserve not only local artifacts but the colloquial history of the area's people.

"My family is an original family to the valley, and preserving its history is important to me," he said.

When the group debuted its new Boonesborough Day event on a Sunday afternoon in 1971, members hoped enough local folks would come by after church to make it worthwhile, said Wanda Heuer, who headed the event for many years.

Now the event runs two days and draws around 15,000 from all over, said Heuer, who served many years as the group's president and is still an active member.

The organization is donating excess revenue from this year's Boonesborough Days event to three local history-related projects, Rogers announced Sunday.

Although the amounts have to be determined at the next board of directors meeting, Roger said the group will aid the Friends of Washington Monument State Park in restoring the park's museum, Gathland Park in renovating its bathroom facilities for handicapped accessibility and Dahlgren Chapel in purchasing badly needed pews.

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