|Curator's Corner — What's next?|
|Saturday, September 07, 2013 12:18 AM|
When visitors come to the museum for their second or third time, the question that usually pops up is: What’s next? Of course there is always the nagging problem of finances and if small independent museums like ours aren’t careful, that’s all they will ever work on. Fortunately our board of directors keeps evolving and with that comes fresh ideas and lots of new challenges for me. We have an excellent core group that is concerned about the future — next year, maybe even the next five to 10 years.
I must admit that when I started this project over 18 years ago, I never dreamed that we would have come this far. Just this week, we had a large group of visitors from Germany that had come to spend time with the people of their sister city, St. Marys. We had a large group of sisters who toured the museum as part of their annual family get together. The organizer was from Dayton and she chose to spend a few days in Delphos. She had sisters from Arizona, Colorado and California.
Can you imagine someone planning a family vacation to visit Delphos, especially if they don’t have any relatives in the area? You would be surprised at how many people have stopped in while traveling the Lincoln Highway as part of the 100th anniversary of the highway’s completion.
OK, so you are still waiting for an answer to “What’s next?” The answer is quite simple. It is time we, as a town, get organized. Many years ago, I wrote an article about all the attractions in Delphos, the hidden gems that would bring people to our hometown. I heard you chuckle. Attractions you say? Where shall we start? How about with the two museums? Do you realize in order to see everything there, you would need an entire day? Need a place to stay? The Microtel is right here — clean, well appointed and at a reasonable cost. For each tour we have run from MPH tours, there have been people who have come to spend the previous night at the Microtel. They always say it is a relaxing way to start a vacation.
What else do we have? Restaurants that will satisfy so many different tastes: Mexican, Chinese, Italian, Greek, steak houses, delis, coffee houses, specialty chicken, all the major fast food chains and local pubs, saloons and watering holes.
Have any of you been to all the parks in Delphos lately? Stadium Park, the town pool, Garfield Park, the Hanser Pavilion, the shelterhouses and how about the Westrich Little League fields? Have you seen all the new equipment and landscaping that was installed by our local Kiwanis Club? How about the running track at the high school and the enhancements made by the Stadium Club? We have treasures in our midst like the Zane Grey birthplace, the Ostendorf Hotel, the Dienstberger House and let’s not forget about the magnificent church buildings and Oscar Velasquez’s outdoor murals. Just take the intersection of the Lincoln Highway and State Route 66 where you will find the Veterans’ Memorial Park, a Lincoln Hwy control station sign and the full-size murals on the Best One Tire and Delphos Herald buildings.
Have you checked out the library and its new annex? I was just there the other day and even with all the cutbacks, there are free services you don’t normally find in communities our size.
You have an interest in art? It’s all around us from Mike Bendele’s magnificent metal doors on St. John’s Church to the restorations of the late 19th/early 20th-century architecture of numerous buildings on Main Street.
Have you seen the awesome three-dimensional murals done by the Delphos Area Art Guild that are in the Postal Museum? Just stop and look at the Central Block Building, the former Remlinger Drug and the Shenk & Lang buildings, the offices of JoAn Smith, Ace Hardware, the former Phelan Hotel and how about the Museum of Postal History?
Anyone interested in antiques, coins and collectibles? Check out the Trading Post, the two antique malls or the boutiques and specialty stores of clothing, furniture, consignments and restaurant supplies.
You’d never guess how many places you can find pizza, baked goods or ice cream in Delphos. We are fortunate to have social clubs and banquet halls fit for a party of any size and they are fully-equipped, clean and reasonably-priced. We have a recreation center open 12 months a year. Our cemeteries are visited by genealogists and they are the final resting places for people like “Dummy Kim” and canal boat Captain Crenshaw. Canal enthusiasts have walked the banks of the waterway and climbed on the locks that were part of that history. Everything I have mentioned is just inside the city limits of Delphos.
So what’s next? We need to gather all the principal people involved with these attractions along with the ones I may have overlooked and we need to develop a travel and tourism organization right in the heart of Delphos. Every homeowner, every business person, everyone who can see what I am talking about needs to come forward to lend a hand, some time and maybe even a few dollars to put Delphos’s star on the map and bring people from all over the world to see how great life can be in America’s Friendliest City.
What do you say? Will you join me? If you are interested, drop me a note, put a note on our website (www.postalhistorymuseum.org) or give us a call at 419-204-5315 and leave a message. If we all did just a little, what do you think could happen?
Last but certainly not least, we have several seats still available for our trip to Monticello and Williamsburg slated to depart on Sept. 28.