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Committee publishes book to celebrate Damascus bicentennial

January 17, 2010

DAMASCUS- A committee of Damascus residents and historians have assembled a book chronicling the town's history as well as its 2008 bicentennial celebration.

The 8 1/2-by-11-inch soft-cover book, "Damascus Through the Years: 1808-2008," is a compilation of material such as newspaper clippings and scrapbook items plus coverage of each anniversary celebration including the sesquicentennial in 1958, 175th in 1983 and bicentennial in 2008.

Individuals who prepaid for a book at the bicentennial celebration can pick it up at Damascus Hardware, Damascus Friends Church and Damascus United Methodist Church. Additional copies are available for purchase at $15 per book at the above locations and Remember When gift shop.

The book is also available for viewing at area libraries and historical societies.

Compiled and arranged by a four-member committee, including Clarence Sekerak, Donna Lautzenhauser, Eleanor Kampfer and Ken Bandy, the book highlights some of the significant residents, events and places that helped make Damascus what it is.

According to Sekerak, the collection and verification of material took approximately a year and a half, but should stand as an example for other historical and genealogical societies to follow.

"I think our committee feels we have made a contribution and maybe set a take advantage of those tidbits out there," he said.

Utilizing a mixture of text and photographs, the book offers a little for everybody, Sekerak added.

"We went with the blend because we felt it would be more thorough

and catch the eye a little more," he said. "We didn't want it to be all text so that people wouldn't want to read it, but we didn't want it as simple as a lot of photos with captions."

Ultimately, though, the book should serve as a kind of time capsule on which future generations can look back, Sekerak intimated, explaining that with individuals becoming more and more transient, fewer families in the area are staying intact, thus making the preservation of Damascus history all the more meaningful.

"I don't know what will be done in the future, with home roots not as strong as they were before, so hopefully this book can be a milestone for the future," he said.

Kevin Howell can be reached at



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