As we noted almost three years ago, this group is all about making history fun, nothing like those boring school clases. Our plan is simple: invite history authors to join us, meet and share historical documents, photos or film, hike and walkabout, and swap yarns and tales and our own history plans. At various shows we have presented for schools, community centers and groups over the past 18 years all over Washington, people who have attended have asked if we could meet on a regular basis to share information and review and discuss books about history, especially about Washington state and the Pacific Northwest, and especially about trains, gold, coal and what brought people here.
I publish www.skagitriverjournal.com, which has 800 photo-features and an online subscribers magazine. We have already linked descendants from about 200 Washington families. We would like to restore the camaraderie and the kinds of meetings that groups like the Territorial Daughters of Washington and others conducted from the 1930s through '80s, and which Chapter 2 of the TD still conducts. We especially want to encourage people of all ages to share family scrapbooks and photos that have historical interest. We would not expect "experts," but rather would encourage those who love history, regardless of your knowledge level.
There will be no tests, nor will you be judged. There would be no hierarchy, no officers planned, just meet-ups and sharing. I have a location in Sedro-Woolley that can accommodate up to 40 people. And I can envision meet-ups in other cities as folks show interest, including hikes to the Cascades and field trips to Seattle, the Islands, Olympia, etc.
During the good-weather months, I can see having hikes and tours of historic locations as the feature of the meet-up, including the streams and rivers of the Northwest, fisheries, hatcheries, ghost-towns, etc.
We will work with other Northwest authors and researchers, such as Dan Royal and his stumpranchonline.com website, and invite them to meet with us and share their discoveries and plans for future books, articles and meetings.
There would be a small donation of $2-3 per meet-up to pay for refreshments and administrative costs. We have a pizza place right down the street that will deliver.
I'd like to do this for selfish reasons, because half of the ideas for the site come from history-lovers who share the kernel of an idea or a discovery and we pursue it from there. And we have many guest-writers. This kind of group could produce many more of them. In return, the meet-up members would learn first about new discoveries, about new books on the subject and about other outlets for your interests. This will be a place where writers can test-drive ideas with fellow history detectives.
I will set up the first meet-up when we have a dozen people interested in attending the first one. Right now we are looking at the second half of February for the first meet-up. When you join, please let us know what nights of the week are bad for you and if you would attend on Saturday or Sunday afternoons.
Please email if you have questions (firstname.lastname@example.org) and please see the click-note at the upper right re: "First meetup suggestions for" as we try to plan the first meet-up. Welcome aboard. Sam Spade