Chester historical marker replacement

| 15 Nov 2023 | 09:20

Thanks for your recent coverage of the Sugar Loaf Historical Society’s Hambletonian marker restoration.

Coincidentally, Chester’s municipal historian recently charged taxpayers to replace an historical marker that he allowed to corrode over his decades in office. The marker in question was placed by the previous historian, credited to “Municipal Historian 1997,” and that office should have maintained it. Instead, he let it rot and peel, until it finally snapped along a corroded line after an alleged collision.

He then asked the board to make taxpayers cover the $1,550+ for replacement, instead of repairing it or writing a Pomeroy Foundation grant for replacement. Any grant would mandate the marker’s text to be unchanged, as credited to the 1997 municipal historian, Clark Holbert.

Then Municipal Historian Clif Patrick did something unthinkably unethical: He added additional text to the marker (without informing the board), but kept the credit line unchanged, implying the previous 1997 historian (long deceased) had endorsed this new text. The new line, incidentally, mentions the station that houses the Chester Historical Society; something that neither that group’s founder, nor the first municipal historian (both mentors/ friends of mine) would have approved. Chester’s municipal historian (and the Chester Historical Society) opposed the 2007 incorporation of the Sugar Loaf Historical Society, stating the new society would compete with Chester’s Historical Society for grants. It’s disappointing to see a corrupt appointed official continuing to act in poor faith in the furtherance of an agenda of exclusivity. History, to some of us, is more important than money.

Jay Westerveld

Sugar Loaf