A project nearly six years in the making came to fruition on Saturday as a ribbon cutting ceremony was held at the Green Hill-Alma Historical Kiosk.
Shirley MacLeod, chair of the committee, said it’s been a long road, but organizers were happy at the official opening of the kiosk, located by the Alma Fire Department.
“It’s been fun. It’s been frustrating. But any work that you undertake is like that. It doesn’t all go smoothly.”
The research continued up until the project went to graphic designer Rachael McLean. MacLeod said the committee held an open house where people brought family artifacts and information. They also visited archives, libraries and museums. In addition, they started a Facebook page on which people shared more information than they could include on the panel.
Heather Facey, who did research for the committee, said the process was like a treasure hunt. As a former teacher, Facey was pleased to be able to see documents at the archives in Halifax that led to the first school in the area.
“It was just a thrill for me to hold in my hand the original document of the application to the government for three trustees to open a school,” she said, adding that they also got to see the recommendation for the first teacher, Angus McPhee, who had already been teaching out of his home.
The panel features a timeline of the area, including information about the first grist and saw mill, early churches, the construction of Northumberland Regional High School and the Alma Fire Department, and more.
At the time they started the process, federal and provincial funding for historical kiosks had just ended, MacLeod said. They received a Municipality of Pictou County grant, and all other funding came from fundraisers like dinners, bake sales and the sales of cookbooks and calendars. They had a goal of raising $17,000 and came in under budget, leaving money left over for maintenance.
MacLeod said she instigated the project years ago when she saw other kiosks being built around Pictou County and thought the Green Hill area deserved one.
“There’s a lot of history in the area, so I made a few phone calls.”
There were five people on the committee — MacLeod, Facey, Nancy Levo, Margaret Porter and the late June Rosborough.
During his remarks at the opening, Municipality of Pictou County Warden Robert Parker praised the hard work of the committee.
“I don’t think it’s just that history is an interesting thing to know about. It’s a lot more than that. … It means so much to know where you came from.”