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Historical Society announces 2021 board of directors

June 6, 2021 at 4:00 a.m.
Garland County Historical Society board members at a recent work session are front, from left, Toma Dee Whitlock, Carol Moenster Dyer, Susan de Linde Hunter, Elaine C. Johnston, Tom French, and Ray Rosset, and back, from left, Julie Brenner Nix, Bitty Martin, Wayne Threadgill, Liz Robbins, Clyde Covington, and Len Pitcock. Board member Orval Albritton is not pictured. - Submitted photo

At its first in-person work session since March 2020, the Garland County Historical Society Board of Directors recently discussed the society's September Hidden Hot Springs tour of historic homes, preservation and education projects, the society's progress in the digitization of historic materials, and ways to make the public more aware of the importance of the county's rich heritage, a news release said.

The session was led by Julie Brenner Nix, who was installed as the president of the board in January. She will serve a two-year term with the 61-year-old nonprofit organization while also co-chairing Hidden Hot Springs, the society's annual tour of historically significant homes in Garland County. Nix is the past executive director of the American Association of School Librarians.

Bitty Martin, who handles the society's retail marketing and community outreach, serves as vice president. Martin has a media and medical background and was the Hot Springs Y.W.C.A. executive director.

Elaine C. Johnston, the board secretary, is the society's intake coordinator. She holds a Master's Degree in Library Science and was the library director at the University of Oklahoma at Tulsa.

Ray Rosset serves as the historical society treasurer. He served in several finance and accounting roles in Dallas before moving to Hot Springs in 2001. With his wife, Kristie, he owned and operated a luxury boutique inn on Lake Hamilton until he retired in 2017.

Board members include Orval E. Allbritton, a GCHS past president. He is the author of "The Mob at The Spa: Organized Crime and its Fascination with Hot Springs, Arkansas" and five other in-depth books on Hot Springs' colorful past that may be purchased at the Historical Society or on its website.

Clyde Covington, a teacher and later guidance counselor at Central Junior High School and Hot Springs Middle School, has served three times as the society's president since his initial board membership in 1975. Covington has become one of the society's main interpreters of the historical Sanborn fire insurance maps in addition to digitizing donated photos and documents.

Carol Moenster Dyer, the past executive director of the Central Arkansas American Heart Association and resident of Hot Springs Village, is co-chair of the society's Hidden Hot Springs homes tour and director of the corporate membership drive.

Tom French, who has been an assistant to the mayor of Hot Springs and later the executive vice president and director of marketing for Summit Bank, is a member of the society's corporate membership drive committee.

Susan de Linde Hunter is GCHS' Veterans' Room coordinator. She holds a Master's Degree in Elementary Education and spent 34 years teaching in various parts of the state, including the Lakeside School District.

Len Pitcock, a managing partner of the Little Rock-based lobbying firm The Perimeter Group, is serving on the society's corporate membership drive committee. His Hot Springs home is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Wayne Threadgill focuses on the society's digitization efforts, scanning and providing metadata for historical photos and documents. He also serves on the society's technology committee. Threadgill was a software consultant with SAP and Oracle Business Solutions and is the author of "Gambling in the Spa," the "most complete and accurate work on illegal gambling in Hot Springs," the release said.

Toma Dee Whitlock works with photo educational outreach. During her career, she worked with teenagers in the areas of child welfare, juvenile corrections, and mental health services and additionally worked in management information and application development in Little Rock and Pine Bluff.

Liz Robbins has served as the Garland County Historical Society executive director and editor of its yearly journal, The Record, since 2007. She holds an MA in English and history, taught for 37 years (the last 26 at Lakeside School District), and is a past board member of the Arkansas State Archives.

The Garland County Historical Society is open 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Monday through Friday, at 328 Quapaw Ave. Memberships and historical books for purchase, along with a database search, can be obtained on the society's website at http://www.garlandcountyhistoricalsociety.com.

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