Newsletter -- October/November, 2004.


Once again Fall is upon us and it is already time for the Society’s annual Fall Antique and Art Fair. This year the Fair will be held on Saturday November 13th from 9:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M. on the grounds of the Bronson-Mulholland House at 100 Madison Street in Palatka. In addition to the art and antiques that local and out-of-town vendors will be providing the Society will be selling sandwiches, soups, and sweets. Tours of both the Bronson-Mulholland House and the Putnam Historic Museum will be available. Admission to the Fair is $2.00 per person. Please encourage your friends and family to attend and be sure to join your fellow Society members at the Fair. Proceeds will help support the Bronson-Mulholland House and the Putnam Historic Museum.


The Fall Antique & Art Fair is your Society’s major fundraising event of the year. It would not be the success it has been without the continued help of the many members who volunteer. One area where you can help us is at the Society’s food booth. Volunteers are already committed to providing more than enough soup and sandwiches but we are in need of desserts. Fancy cooking some brownies? How about cookies or a cake? Please help us out and bring your dessert items to the Bronson-Mulholland House on Friday November 12th. The Society is also seeking the donation of card tables for use at this and future Fairs. Thank you!


In our previous newsletter we brought to your attention the current situation of this fine historic structure. The house is located in San Mateo and was built in the 1870’s. It, and twelve acres of land surrounding the house, is currently the property of the Board of County Commissioners of Putnam County and, therefore, is the property of all citizens of Putnam County. The Board of Directors of your Society went before the County Commission on July 13th to request a 60-day delay before the Commission will declare the property as surplus and sell it. At the County Commission meeting held on September 11th the issue of the Chester-Ladd House was to be addressed. In the aftermath of the worst hurricane to strike Putnam County in living memory the issue of the house was delayed for a future meeting. At a workshop meeting of the County Commission held on October 19th the committee formed to save the Chester-Ladd House presented its case to the County Commission. The committee proposed that the county maintain ownership of the property and seek federal and/or state grants to restore it. The committee also presented several suggestions for the future use of the house, including: a home for the county archives, and community center for the San Mateo area, or a substation for the sheriff’s office. The final outcome now rests in the hands of the County Commission.


At their August 26th meeting the Palatka City Commission overturned the ruling of the Historic Preservation Board with respect to the houses located at 212 and 214 Main Street. The Board had denied an application by St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, the buildings' owner, to relocate or demolish the two structures. The Board of Directors of your Society had communicated its support of the Historic Preservation Board’s decision to the Commission. The relocation or demolition of both buildings (one built in 1885 and the other in the 1920s-the dates published in the Palatka Daily News are incorrect) will remove two more historic structures from Palatka’s historic district. As of today both houses are adorned with signs informing passersby that the houses are free to whomever wishes to move them. On a happier note the owner of 112 Main Street located one block east of the houses owned by St. Mark’s is currently refurbishing that historic home.


In the past few years your Society has renewed its efforts to acquire items of historical value related to Putnam County. What follows is a listing of some of those items we have recently acquired. Vice President Larry Beaton, a well-known collector of Putnam County ephemera, was given authority by the Board to purchase paper items and photographs related to Putnam County. Included among his acquisitions for the Society are topographical maps of the Palatka area from 1912/1915, the Interlachen area from 1927/1949, and the Bostwick area from 1927/1949; numerous postcards not previously found in the Society’s collection; and an 1852 map of Florida produced under the direction of Benjamin A. Putnam. David Collins kindly donated several items, including: a copy of the 1963 dedication program for James A. Long Elementary School, a program for a football game between Crescent City and New Smyrna High Schools (circa 1960), a program from 1965 for the dedication of the Putnam County courthouse complex, a program for the musical “Springtime in the Garden” held at the First Baptist Church in Palatka in the 1920s, and a partial copy of the Palatka News dated April 25, 1919. Palatka City Commissioner Mary Lawson Brown has generously donated an account book from the 1930s from the Mary Lawson Sanatorium and Hospital. Finally, Society historian Robert Tindall recently acquired for the Society a menu from the famed Putnam House dated February 26, 1888. The menu is prefaced by a re-phrasing of the famous quote opening Shakespeare’s Richard III: “Now is the winter of our discontent made glorious summer by this sun of Florida.” Patrons on that day could dine on such delicacies as Green Turtle Soup al’Anglaise, baked stuffed shad with port wine sauce, boiled Westphalia ham with spinach, legs of English mutton with jelly, Rhode Island goose with apple sauce, Oyster Patties a la Francaise, tenderloin of beef, roast haunch of deer with jelly sauce, mayonnaise of chicken, mayonnaise lobster, steamed white potatoes, claret punch, English plum pudding, Boston creme cakes, sea moss blanc mange, Aspinwall bananas, and Indian River oranges.


The Society’s annual Christmas meeting will be held on Thursday December 2d at 6:00 P.M. at the Bronson-Mulholland House. Since last year’s Pot Luck Dinner was such a success we have decided to repeat it this year. Spiral-cut ham will be provided but attendees are requested to bring a covered dish to share with other members. Our program for the evening has not yet been set but will certainly be as entertaining as it has been in years past. See you there!