Not surprisingly, the Apex Historical Society spends much of its time looking into the past.
Earlier this month, the group took a few moments to also enjoy the present while dreaming of the future.
The AHS recently celebrated its 25th anniversary with a Founder’s Day celebration at the Halle Cultural Arts Center in downtown Apex.
Nearly 125 people attended the event, which celebrated the group’s numerous past achievements, lauded its’ many current programs and discussed plans for the years ahead.
The highlight of the event was the recognition of Jan Brooks, who founded the society a quarter of a century ago.
“Jan put an ad in the newspaper inviting anybody who was interested to come to the meeting,” said AHS President Mack Thorpe. “They met at the old chamber of commerce building on Williams Street and 11 people showed up. That is how it all started.”
Brooks was presented with a lifetime membership in the society.
“It was just a way for us to show our appreciation for her vision,” said Thorpe. “She was the one who saw the importance of having a historical society. Not only is she the founder of the society but Jan is truly the heart and soul of the organization. She sets the pace and challenges its members, town officials and the citizenry of Apex to preserve its heritage and protect its history.”
Thorpe said historical societies can play vital roles in a community. He pointed out that residents interested in protecting Apex’s heritage helped saved the downtown area from the wrecking ball.
The once similar downtown area in neighboring Cary suffered a much different fate.
“Thirty years ago, Cary had a downtown just like Apex,” said Thorpe. “They tore most of it down because there was nobody interested in protecting it. Here in Apex, people wanted to keep their downtown. I think Cary lost a valuable part of its history because no one was an advocate for it. The Apex Historical Society is an advocate for our past.”
Mayor Keith Weatherly presented a proclamation to the society that noted the “Apex Historical Society has been instrumental in the Town Hall and the Apex Depot on the National Register designations; in initiating the first Town of Apex Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony; in sponsoring the annual Historic Home Tour; in acquiring, siting, and restoring the Seaboard caboose; and assisted in attaining Historic District status for downtown Apex and its surrounding area; and in obtaining ownership of and restoring the Maynard Pearson Home which has become the dedicated museum for the Town of Apex…”
Since the historical society didn’t receive its official charter until March of 1988, AHS members will continue the anniversary celebration throughout the next year with a series of lectures, programs, downtown walking tours and barbecues.
“Without a historical society you end up having your history torn down and lost forever,” said Thorpe. “We want to keep that history so future generations will understand where they came from.”
For more information visit www.apexhistoricalsociety.com.