Volunteers rescue documents damaged in the fire at the Dauphin Historical Society building.
DAUPHIN – Members of the Dauphin-Middle Paxton community are coming together to save their history after a fire destroyed the society’s historic building last weekend.
Much of what remains is burned, has smoke damage, or is still damp from firefighting crews.
The documents in that building represent more than 200 years of history and community members say it is impossible to overstate how much could be lost.
It is a tedious process to go through old documents and photos covered in black soot.
“Look how all the pages came together,” said Kathy Fisher, museum director.
The Dauphin-Middle Paxton Historical Society had just celebrated the 250th anniversary of Dauphin Borough before a fire devastated the site. Members have spent the past 25 years preserving history.
“It’s amazing how much paperwork and articles, things that people worked on, research that was done, it’s hard to believe that’s it, a lot is gone,” said Joan Megonnell, founding member of the historical society.
Some records can be found online and reprinted.
“Unfortunately, some of it, but not all of it,” Fisher said.
That’s why about 20 people showed up to help Fisher disassemble the family tree folders, the house history project, death certificates, and more.
The artifacts filled a two-story building, but now all that remains fit in a corner in a handful of boxes.
“They are going to reproduce everything, but we are putting it in the order it was in the book to help make it easier for the books to get back together,” said volunteer Beth Romero.
“Everyone in the community has come out in some way to help us because they want to see us rebuild and that is our goal. It won’t be the same again, but we can still do well again, ”Fisher said.
“It is not a fatal blow, but it is a blow for us, you know. Welcome back. We will, ”McConnell said.
The work of examining the documents is not over.
The historical society is asking for volunteers to help again Monday morning starting at 9 am in the Dauphin Home Association building.