William McLain, who came to Newark as a high school sophomore, has been a resident for 61 years. Yet in many circles around town, he’s still a newbie. “In Newark, families are often third- and fourth-generation residents,” notes the retired educator.
As president of the Newark Historical Society, McLain has met members of old families, transplants who moved to the area with families or for jobs and students-turned-residents. “There are a variety of answers as to how people got here,” says McLain, “but many people say, ‘We liked it, so we stayed.”
In 1981, nearly 100 residents decided that they liked Newark so much that they wanted learn more about their hometown’s history. They founded the Newark Historical Society with a mission: identify, gather, organize, preserve and share Newark’s history. Thirty years later, the society has aptly managed all five activities.
The society has amassed an extensive collection that includes photographs, documents and objects directly related to Newark. Consider a large, powerful lamp once used at the Curtis Paper Mill to inspect paper color and quality. The society has partnered with University of Delaware students in the museum studies program to care for the items.
To fulfill its goal to share the items, the society is the parent of the Newark History Museum, located in the former passenger train station on South College Avenue. “Showing 300 years of history in two rooms is quite a challenge,” says McLain.
Along with hosting the museum, the society holds programs and lectures to discuss Newark’s past.
Newark History Museum The museum is open from 2 p.m.-5 p.m. on Sundays, from April through November, and by special appointment. 224-2408 or 368-9845