Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Future use predetermined?

In 1975, Newell Hart (pictured above and leaning back), the quintessential historical and preservationist of the Oneida Stake Academy, was going over with readers of the Cache Valley Newsletter (CVN) the many uses a restored Oneida Stake Academy building could be used for.

Let us read what Newell suggested:

“It would fill 15 issues of C.V.N. to outline the many uses to which a restored Academy would be put. There are many rooms and much space. One room should be devoted to the Oneida Stake Academy heritage – photos , mementoes, painting or low-up sketches of some of the famous old characters – Merrill, Geddes, Packer, et all; and another room for P.H.S. – photos of all its athletic teams, trophies, copies of its publications (do you know P.H.S. doesn’t even have a library of its old Quiver yearbooks or blue  White  papers?!!), blow-up photos of some of the decorated balls at the Opera House or Gym. A gallery for exhibiting work by the native artists and craftsmen. There could be a room filled with Roy Sorensen type artifacts – inspired by the best relic collector of ‘em all. There is a new concept in museums. They’re not dead anymore. But that’s another story.
            “In the basement could be a vault for original historical documents of Franklin County. This would be invaluable for students assigned to write an essay, a speaker scheduled to talk in church or in some other public place, news reporters seeking a background to their stories. Diaries, letters, old papers, early Preston business letterheads, copies of all O.S.A. catalogs and documents reportedly sent to Salt Lake City in 1922, microfilm & reader for copies of many-many old-time public and church documents of the area. And how about copies of all those ancestral biographies that are read in Daughters of Pioneer meetings? What happens to them?
            “Meanwhile, upstairs in the restored auditorium: an old time jazz concert once in awhile; an occasional play staged by local or visiting dramatic groups (Utah State Theatre, Northern Cache Valley Dramatic Society, Antique Festival Theatre of Hagerman Valley, the Washakie Theatre Group of Bear Lake); we might even try having our Old-timers Homecoming there. Or, for making a little expense money, we could consider renting it out as a real character setting for class reunions, family get-togethers, wedding receptions and such.”

            Several years ago, without having read this newsletter, the board members of the Oneida Stake Academy Foundation adopted the following uses for the building upon its restoration:

“In its next century of service, each room of the Oneida Stake Academy will tell a story to visitors and patrons. The main floor will house an information center, a historical classroom and a museum/interpretive center.
“The basement will provide a large meeting room, restrooms, and a kitchen. An elevator will make all floors ADA accessible.
“The top floor is a ballroom and will be an elegant setting for important events such as class and family reunions, wedding receptions, and other social gatherings.
“Musicals, plays, concerts and other entertaining events in the academy's ballroom, extended staircase and courtyard will enrich everyone's visit to the academy.”
It seems the OSA building’s future has never been a question. 
Anyone interested in helping to complete the OSA building's restoration as a cultural center/museum, may contact the board members of the Oneida Stake Academy Foundation at We have need of committee members on the following committees: fund-raising, events (OSAF Legacy Bicycle Race on July 19, OSAF Heritage Day on July 24, OSAF Pageant on Aug. 8&9), planned giving, grant writing, construction.

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