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Celebrating town's past, future


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In service: A color guard from Shirley Fire Department salutes the raising of the flag prior to the naming of the 2010 Estell Award winner. Bob Florea (right) won the award in 2009.
In service: A color guard from Shirley Fire Department salutes the raising of the flag prior to the naming of the 2010 Estell Award winner. Bob Florea (right) won the award in 2009.


SHIRLEY — History and community pride will be the focus of Saturday’s Shirley Founders Day, and local organizers hope enough funds can be raised to fix an aging town landmark.

The Save the Depot effort continues in Shirley to repair the museum’s sinking floor. While the Shirley Historical Society has been raising money for more than a year to refurbish the depot, fundraisers at Founders Day could be the final push needed for the group.

“We still need to get the floor fixed,” said Jerry Duke, president of the historical society.

Duke said the group has roughly $20,000 in hand, which at this time last year was about how much it would have cost to repair the floor. Now, Duke says, the floor is bowing out more, and the structure may need a new foundation entirely.

The sale of homemade chicken and noodles and pies at Shirley Park will raise money for the depot as the society continues to get quotes and come to decisions on how to effect repairs.

The Shirley Depot, which is also the museum for the community, was closed last year, and its contents were moved to the historic doctor’s office for storage. The Hancock County Tourism Commission has since matched $6,500 to the society’s existing funds for the depot renovations, and Duke said Stephanie White, former owner of GasAmerica, also donated $4,000.

Shirley Founders Day is an annual tradition for the community. While in recent years the event had dwindled to little more than an ice cream social, last year more events were added, such as a talent contest and the return of the community parade.

This year’s celebration will have a similar feel to last year’s, with the addition of a few more events.

The community’s police dog will give a public demonstration in the park, and Hancock County historian Joe Skvarenina will give a presentation on the history of Shirley.

“There’s something going on all day instead of a big blank in the middle, like we had last year,” Duke said.

The David Estell Award will be presented shortly after noon to recognize a citizen who has made a positive impact on the community.

Duke said both the car show and the parade will be expanded this year. He’s already heard of several car clubs planning to come to the show, pending good weather.

Linda Westrich, owner of Shirley Hardware and also a member of the historical society, said the event is something people who may have moved away from the community come back to every year.

“In the past, that’s kind of the way it has been; it just draws people from outside of town,” she said.

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