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Published: November 5th 2010
Source: Mark Hoult - Community Press
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Havelock-Belmont-Methuen Diane Mack has long dreamed of seeing the community's historical artifacts and memorabilia housed in their own museum.

"Someday this town is going to have a real museum," said the Havelock-Belmont-Methuen Historical Society president after receiving donations from former CP Rail employees Dave Hart and Claude Pollock.

Now, with the support of the municipality, Mack's dream is closer to taking form. Reeve Ron Gerow has vowed to make a permanent museum one of council's priorities.

"Council has been talking for years about the importance of preserving the history of the community," he said. "Over the next term we will be talking about a museum somewhere in the community where everything can be permanently displayed."

Gerow said a local museum in a prominent location would provide a boost to tourism by telling the story of the community's rich heritage and the railroad, forestry and mining operations that have sustained its people.

"There is a lot of history there, and a lot of people have given up artifacts going back five generations, and they want to see them preserved. So it's up to us, with the help of the historical society, to make sure these things are preserved for future generations."

The historical society's collection of thousands of artifacts and memorabilia, including old photographs, newspaper clippings and clothing, is housed temporarily in space in the old Havelock Town Hall on Mathison Street. The collection keeps growing in preparation for the time it will take its place in a new home, Mack said.

"Right now our goal is to save, save, save, and not let it out of Havelock," she said.

The latest additions to the collection come from Hart, who worked for CP Rail from 1977 to 2005. During that time, he rode the network of rail lines between Toronto, Havelock, Hamilton, Smith Falls and Belleville. He has survived two train collisions. "The railroad can be a very dangerous place to work," he said.

Hart donated two sets of hand-written train orders the last orders of their kind issued on the local lines before CP switched to electronic orders. In addition, he donated an old CP seniority list, a photo of himself working as a conductor in Havelock, a pay stamp and a well-thumbed Canadian Rail Operating Rules book.

Pollock was a member of Canada's merchant marine fleet during the Second World War who joined CP Rail after the war. He has donated numerous items to the historical society over the years, including his father's battered CP lunchbox, lanterns, radios, hats, uniforms and photographs. Pollock has also set up a display depicting life on the railroad in a preserved yellow caboose on the south side of Highway 7 in Havelock.

Pollock was on the train in 1961 that made the final night run between Toronto and Ottawa. He was also on the last runs between Havelock and Smith Falls and between Kingston and Smith Falls.

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