Dorchester Historical Center -- Background
Jim Jantsch, Dorchester Village Historian
It was brought to my attention that it would be beneficial to use modern means and bring the contents of the Dorchester Historical Center to the public via the computer. Establish a web site – take pictures of what is contained within the walls of the Dorchester Library and displayed them on the web for all to see.
This is what was suggested time and time again so after due deliberation –
how could I say No. Especially since many of the requests have come from
former students of Dorchester High School; some of whom were my classmates
and others who were friends for my entire life. Many requests came from
people who have suffered serious illnesses and can no longer travel to
Dorchester. These individuals would never be able to see what lies inside the
walls of the Dorchester Public Library; unless those artifacts of the Historical
Center could be brought directly into their living room.
It is my wish that each and everyone who partakes of this endeavor will come
away with something more than when what they started with. It is also my
wish that many positive suggestions will come as well; ways that the web site
can be improved and made better. So here we go – hope you enjoy.
To better understand how the Dorchester Historical Center began and why;
I provide here a little insight as to what happened in 2005.
I have always enjoyed history as I firmly believe that the farther one is able to
look back; the farther one can look forward. Writing the history of this small
hamlet called Dorchester and which I completed in the fall of 2005;
with the book titled “The History of Dorchester - Small in Size– Big in History”.
It was exactly at that time that the citizens of Dorchester were informally
informed that both the Dorchester Elementary School and the St. Louis
Elementary School would both close their doors after the next school year;
that an idea sprung forth from within the top membrane.
The next step was to arrange a meeting with the Dorchester Library Board and
that was accomplished immediately. That meeting brought a positive response
to the question; since they will no longer be a Dorchester school remaining;
should we make the library the center of the community? The answer
unequivocally was – YES.
At that meeting; it was also decided to raise monies for placing an 2400
sq. ft. addition on the west end of the existing 3000 sq. ft. structure with one
third of the new space being reserved for a future Dorchester Historical
Center. A center where Dorchester artifacts would be brought and displayed
for all to see; especially the young and future residents of the community.
This would be a place where the young people could see things that their
grandparents would of used. In other words – a place of education – a place
where knowledge could be passed from one generation to another.
From 2005 until 2011; monies were raised and construction started in the fall
of 2011 with a completion date of April 2012. The new structure was now
available and the grand opening occurred in June of 2012.
With the facility now ready for occupancy; what type of items would be
displayed in the historical center; and why is it called a historical center and
not a museum? Good question and the answer is a museum is typically
notedfor displaying old items. The Dorchester Historical Center is called a
historical center because it is the director's intent to display only items (old
and new) which are directly related to Dorchester in some way; either by
belonging to a Dorchester area resident or because it was a part of a
Dorchester building or the artifact had some other association with the
It must be said that this writer had a real ball establishing the historical
center. Each and every day that I work on a project for the center is a day
that I do not call a wasted day. I truly hope and pray that this attempt at
creating a web site so that more people can enjoy viewing the contents of the
historical center will be a successful one. I say that; because this individual
lacks a lot of knowledge when it comes to those modern devices called puters.
It is fortunately that I had the foresight to sign up for Mr. Zier's Business and
Typewriter class so I can at least find my way around the keyboard. Actually it
is good that I signed up for not just one year but two as one year would not of
been sufficient. OK – here is what you can expect on the following pages. A
picture of every item in the historical center with words describing the item,
where it came from and who donated it; plus special words of interest that
the writer feels is needed to enhance the description and/or to provide
additional data which should complement the words in front.