WILMINGTON — The 31st class of the Clinton County Leadership Institute gathered in October to explore the history of Clinton County — from its founding years, through repeated re-drawings, and through evolutions in industry, architecture and service.
Class members completed a historic walking tour of downtown Wilmington, led by Kathleen Norman, Leadership Clinton alumna from the 14th class, learning about the history and architecture of the downtown’s oldest building at 100 W. Main St., the United Methodist Church, the downtown Friends meeting house, the Buckeye Livery, and numerous other historic sites.
Class members then had the opportunity to tour the Veterans Memorial with Randy Riley, President of Wilmington City Council, former County Commissioner, and champion of the Veterans Memorial project in Wilmington.
Riley shared the vision of the project and its legacy in the community — the Clinton County Veterans Memorial is unique in its scope and in its ideation, and is the only memorial with its unique design and concept (featuring letters from service members to their families during wartime).
Funds for the project were raised in a fraction of the time that many similar memorial projects require – a testament to the Clinton County community’s commitment to honoring its veterans.
Class members toured the historic Murphy Theatre, which is now approaching its 100th anniversary in 2018.
Jennifer Hollon, member of the Murphy Theatre Board of Trustees, led a tour of the theatre and a discussion of its history, detailing the life and work of its storied founder, Charles Murphy, and the various (and sometimes infamous) productions the theatre has hosted through the last century.
Kay Fisher, Director of the Clinton County History Center, treated class members to a tour of the Clinton County History Center, including its current wedding dress exhibit, and educated the class on resources available to local and visiting historians interested in Clinton County and its families.
The afternoon concluded with a visit to the historic Quinn Chapel AME (African Methodist Episcopal) Church and a discussion with Pastor Phillip Turner about the history and legacy of the AME church – nationally and in Wilmington.
Chip Murdock, Director of Diversity and Inclusion at Wilmington College, joined the discussion and facilitated a discussion of diversity in Clinton County and its various institutions.
The class resumed in November with a focus on local government.