Frisco Historical Society should honor the Smiths | SummitDaily.com
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Frisco Historical Society should honor the Smiths

M. John FayheeFrisco

I am both saddened and angered at the fact that, for the second year in a row, the Frisco Historical Society has chosen to be rude and disrespectful to my good friends, Frank and Katherine Smith, two part-time residents who have done more for the town of Frisco in the past decade than most full-time residents do in a lifetime. For the second straight summer, the FHS will host a dedication for the new railroad exhibit, which was expertly built by Tom Randolph. And, for the second straight summer, the dedication ceremony will be held at a time when the Smiths, who actually paid for most of that exhibit, will not be in town. The Smiths winter in Houston and return to their Bill’s Ranch home the middle of July every year, pretty much like clock work. This is well known within the FHS, as the Smiths have been actively involved in that organization for years. When I inquired about the choice of date for this summer’s dedication (June 15), I was told by the new museum coordinator, Simone Belz (who I’ve not met personally), who was recently profiled in the Summit Daily News, that June 15 was chosen at least partially because it would be easy to coordinate that date with a jazz band’s schedule. The jazz band, according to the FHS’s railroad exhibit dedication invitation, will take place at the “Historic Park Gazebo” – another kick in the Smith’s teeth. The Smiths actually paid for the Gazebo out of their own pocket, and their only request was that it be known as Ches’s Place, after Frank’s deceased son. Yet, the FHS can’t even show him that degree of respect. In the SDN profile of Belz, the cutline included Randolph’s name as the man who build the railroad exhibit, but it did not contain a word about the Smiths, who paid for all but a small percentage of the exhibit. I am reminded of my good friend, Currie Craven, long-time president of the Friends of the Eagles Nest Wilderness (which Frank Smith helped organize and fund). When he is interviewed about, say, the work his group did to erect all the wilderness portal signs around the county, Craven is quick to thank the people who actually erected the signs, but he is equally quick to kudo those who paid for them (in that particular case, The Summit Foundation). Craven is a man who appreciates the actions of his group’s benefactors enough to make certain they get their respectful due. The FHS can’t get it together to even schedule an non-time-sensitive event in such a way as to honor one of its most loyal benefactors. And this twice in two summers. The has been in enough disarray within the FHS the past few years that the town recently was forced to take over management of the Historic Park. With insensitive actions such as the second snub of the Smith’s (Balz told me she invited them to the ceremony same as everyone else; they got their invitations in Houston this past Tuesday, and the event is scheduled for next Thursday – hardly enough time to get up here), it is no wonder that the town had to step in and save the FHS from itself. I will attend the dedication out of my great respect for the Randolphs. But I will do so with a degree of incredulousness toward the FHS that, quite frankly, no longer surprises me. Shame on the FHS! P.S. I hope everyone comes to the Nancy Cook concert on July 16 from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. at Ches’s Place. Frank and Katherine Smith have once again helped make arrangement for this annual concert.


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