On April 13th, I was informed that Almont Community Historical Society life-time member, Terry Davidson had passed away.
In the summer of 2017, Terry stopped into the museum. He had come from Colorado Springs, Colorado to attend a relative’s 90th birthday celebration (Geraldine Fiebelkorn) at the Almont Community Park. His mother was Barb Dunbar, Class of 1962. His grandparents were Mildred (Min) and William (Bill) Dunbar. Min was the loan officer of the Almont Savings Bank (now PNC Bank). She gave my parents the loan to build our home on Bordman Road.
Bill Dunbar’s father, Allen, had come to Almont at the time of World War I. He stayed for a number of months at the Gould Hotel (Harrington/National Hotel), which was located where the Speedway station is located today. Each week the hotel furnished its quest with a copy of the local paper – the Almont Herald. The Almont Herald was a one sheet – four page paper. The hotel’s management would put the name of its guests on the upper-right-hand corner of the paper and slip the paper under the guests’ door each week.
The Almont Herald was founded in 1875. It merged with the Almont Times (started in 1938) on November 25, 1944 to become the Almont Times-Herald. The archives of the Herald and Times both were destroyed in a fire in 1941. The Times-Herald was renamed the Tri-City Times in 1977.
Terry stopped at the museum because he was a history buff. He told me he occasionally would look on e-Bay for artifacts and memorabilia from Almont. On one of these searches, an Almont Herald from the time of World War I was available. In the upper-right-hand corner there appeared to be a name written in pencil. The name was difficult to read but appeared to be his great-grandfather’s. He contacted the seller to determine the name. The seller confirmed that it was his great-grandfather’s name but he had sold the paper.
In the spring of 2017, to help Rick Liblong with a story for the Tri-City Times and the creation of a plaque for the Almont men and women who served in World War I, I had reviewed the museum’s collection of Almont Heralds. The collection covers from about 1900 to the mid-1930s. Most of these papers were ones saved by the management of the Gould Hotel. They had names penciled in the upper-right-hand corner. These newspapers maybe the only copies of the Almont Heralds in existence for the time prior to the fire in 1941.
As Terry was telling me the story about his e-Bay search, I began to have goose-bumps. I knew I had seen his great-grandfather’s name on some of the paper I had reviewed. I asked Terry to follow me into the back office where I still had newspaper waiting to be refiled. I took a newspaper from the desk and handed it to Terry. It was a newspaper from 1917 and had his great-grandfather’s name in the upper-right-hand corner. Terry took the newspaper and had goose bumps about the size of golf balls. He was holding a newspaper that his great-grandfather had held almost one hundred years ago.
Before going back to the park to the party, Terry signed up to be a life-time member of the Almont Community Historical Society.
The Society extends its condolences to his widow, Lori.