Southport Historical Society celebrates

Posted:  Tuesday, October 9, 2018 - 6:45pm

The Southport Historical Society at 419 Hendrick's Hill Road held its end of the year celebration Sunday, Oct. 7 with an afternoon open house. This past summer had was the society's 30th anniversary.

According to Society Trustee and Southport native Evelyn Sherman, the Trustees and Friends of the Southport Historical Society hold their end of the season party the first Sunday of October every year and it is open to the public.  

The original part of the museum was built as a home by John Cameron around 1810. It remained in the Cameron family, a family of fishermen originally from Scotland, for the next 100 years. It changed hands a few times before being donated to the society, which moved it to its present location.  An addition consisting of three exhibition rooms and a reference room was added and, most recently, a boat shop.

The clerk's window and post office boxes of the Newagen Post Office that closed in 1997 now occupy part of one room. Two paintings by summer artist Morgan Rhees Jr. (1855-1924), who eventually moved to Southport permanently, hang in other rooms. One of these, "Gates of Hell," is especially mesmerizing. As I was gazing at it, Trustree Ronald Orchard stated he also owned a painting by Rhees, "The Last Roundup." He got it as a boy.  When asked if he had lived on Southport his whole life, Orchard said he had only left for four years in the Korean War.

Lively chatter was coming from the refreshment room, but before I reached the door, Sherman offered to show me the boat shop. It contained dories that long ago belonged to fishermen on Southport; ice fishing tools; and a masted boat called a SYC built for the Southport Yacht Club in the 1930s. The boat was the last of its kind.  In the final section of the shop, we came upon the soda fountain stools from Gus Pratt's "Alley," a longtime mercantile and sandwich shop on Southport, complete with a candlepin bowling alley that closed after Pratt died in 2007. Then Sherman told me, Gus was her brother.

The Society is open July and August on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday from 11 a..m. to 3 p.m. Admission is free.