On August 11, the Bleecker Historical Society will hold its first Photo Festival, where we will display, document and digitize historic images of the Town of Bleecker: its people, buildings, landscapes and events. The Festival is both for people who have images to share, and for those who would simply like to learn more about the Town's history through photographic exhibits.
"If Fulton County has a ghost town…then the town of Bleecker must come as close to it as one could imagine." Thus wrote Kenneth Shaw in his 1974 pictorial history Bleecker, Mayfield, Perth: Then and Now. Indeed, due to the wilderness character of the town, much of Bleecker's history lays hidden beneath the blanket of forest growth that has reclaimed former industrial, agricultural, and social spaces. Most of the sawmills, tanneries, shops, churches, schools, dance halls, hotels, boarding houses, homesteads, barns and croplands that thrived from the mid-nineteenth to the mid-twentieth century are now lost to time, while the experiences of the men and women who lived and worked in them now reside in family memory.
As part of our mission to preserve and interpret Bleecker history, we invite members of the public to share their historical images of the town with us. While we gratefully accept donations of original photographs, the Photo Fest offers an opportunity especially for those who would like to share their images but keep their originals. We will have scanning stations set up at the Town Hall, where we will digitize images, saving a copy (on CD) for the donor and a copy for the Society, and return the originals to the donor on the spot. From these donations, we hope to build a collection of historic Bleecker images to use in exhibits, publications, and especially in an online gallery — all educational tools that bring the "ghosts" of Bleecker back to life.
The Photo Fest will take place at the Bleecker Town Hall, 575 County Highway 112, on Sunday 11 August from 11am to 3pm. We will offer light refreshments and a genealogy project for children, and we will also raffle a beautiful hand-framed historic image of Bleecker (the one on the front of our 2013 brochure). Members will be on hand to exhibit their own photographs, and to help donors identify theirs, while materials will be available to set up on-the-spot exhibits. Admission is free; donations are welcome, and all proceeds go to support the collections of the Society. For further information include a downloadable FAQ, please see our "Events" page.